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Could the Hawks really look to trade Josh Smith?

Jul 6, 2010, 11:56 AM EDT

JSmith_Slam.jpgI won’t for a second claim to know what any of the decision-makers in Atlanta are thinking, but some rumors make you wonder if they are at all. Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse posted a story linking the Hawks to Shaquille O’Neal (not crazy about it the idea, but why not?), and as something of a footnote, dropped this on us:

The Hawks have recently been exploring the possibility of trading power forward Josh Smith as part of their summertime makeover, according to sources around the league.

Oh, okay well that’s — wait, what? First the Hawks give Joe Johnson an absolutely insane amount of money to preserve the status quo, and now they’re bent on destroying it? Somehow this report makes absolutely no basketball sense and plenty of managerial sense (or rather, stands in line with the Hawks’ somewhat zany precedent) for Atlanta.

Josh Smith is at least one of the two most productive Hawks. He’s a great defender as long as he’s not asked to defend wings and a produces like a star even if he’s not a go-to option. Smith became a more efficient offensive player in ’09-’10 (he posted a career-high field goal percentage at .505), which had a fair bit to do with his continued rise. Yet the Hawks want to take that, they want to take one of the most gifted, young power forward in the game, and swap him out with another player who isn’t likely to be as gifted or productive.

Maybe the Hawks have fielded offers that have piqued their interest, but I just can’t imagine this ending well. It’s so hard to get fair return for talented players (particularly ones), and considering Smith’s established role and familiarity with his teammates (as well as new Hawks head coach Larry Drew), doesn’t it just make more sense for Atlanta to stick with the All-Star-caliber power forward that they already have?

The answer is yes, unless there’s something huge lurking behind the curtain. Obviously if Smith can be moved for one of the league’s established studs (and we’re talking the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard mold here, folks), the Hawks should try their damnedest to make it happen. But if they’re simply moving Josh for, say, a decent replacement point guard, Atlanta would be dooming themselves to mediocrity.

With Joe Johnson set to make a king’s wage over the next five seasons, Atlanta won’t be a major player in free agency in the foreseeable future. They pretty much have to make modifications through trades, or else depend on the internal improvement from Smith, Al Horford, and Jeff Teague. Neither is likely to produce extremely positive results; Smith and Horford are terrific and Teague is certainly talented, but there’s no reason to believe they’ll make enough progress to seriously improve the Hawks as a while. Smith, Horford, and Teague will get better and better, but Atlanta needed a serious upgrade to take the next step as a franchise, and instead they gave Joe Johnson what will become known as the worst contract in basketball.

Ultimately, it’s an issue of trust. After everything we’ve seen from the Hawks as an organization with this core in place, do you trust them to get the right returns on a Josh Smith trade? 

  1. bYAAAH - Jul 6, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    Al Jefferson for Josh Smith swap? (I have no idea what Josh Smith contract looks like) T-wolves looking for athletic shot blocking 4. Big Al gives the hawks an offensive post scoring stud.

  2. silent choirboy - Jul 6, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    As a Hawks fan, it is not only smart to explore, but needs to be.
    But I agree, in the end, he is only moved if it brings in a legitimate star i.e. Paul.

  3. bYAAAH - Jul 6, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    We’ll even throw in Ramon Sessions! lol

  4. dave - Jul 6, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    I think you overvalue Josh Smith when you mention him in the same breath as Paul, Wade, James and Howard. He’s good, but not that good.

  5. A2 - Jul 6, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Ahem, Rashard Lewis sneers in the face of Joe Johnson’s contract. At least, JJ helps out on the boards and with ball handling but Rashard is Ryan Anderson + 3 years of seasoning.

  6. Manny - Jul 6, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    There’s no way that the Hawks will be trading Josh Smith. They’ll trade Josh Childress, though.

  7. pt - Jul 6, 2010 at 11:07 PM

    josh for bosh and you can take marvin william with you.thats better that whats on the table for raptors.or they can take j.crawford and j. chill in a sign and trade.the #’s work.bring bosh back to the A

  8. Adrian Landers - Jul 7, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Really?? trade your arguably best player?? Seriously if they do this, i will assume they’re playin for a lotto pick, I mean they OBVIOUSLY arent trying to contend. And that contract they gave to Joe Johnson.. simply put, UNREAL! they guy is a bonafied #2 on his best day, and a #3 option on any given day. He can’t lead a team, he create his own shot i mean cmon now.. and they wanna give up one of the most dynamic and explosive power forwards in the game??? All im sayin is you ant over pay for one piece and then let another key piece go… matter of fact do ME a favor and send em to cleveland so my boy Bron can have a serious option to play with..

  9. Jerry - Jul 7, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    Josh Smith to 76ers for Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams?

  10. Fleet - Jul 7, 2010 at 11:30 PM

    I’m not convinced the Joe Johnson was a super signing, but I am convinced the idea of exploring the trade of Josh Smith is a great idea. In my opinion, Josh Smith thinks he’s still playing high school ball. He stands around on D entirely too much and simply doesn’t play hard at all times. He success comes from his athletic skills. When he plays against other talented and mainly motivated players, he is a no-show. His athletic ability is good enough to match the better players in the league, he simply doesn’t perform. The next time any of you watch the Hawks play, pay attention to Josh Smith,(not the dunks), but his effort. (For example — playing defense off the ball, setting screens, blocking out) I hope they do not give him up for just anyone, but I would love to see the Hawks get someone equal or maybe two players in exchange. Problem with my wish is that other NBA executives watch film — not just the J. Smith dunks. Keep exploring Atlanta.

  11. Supra - Jul 8, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    Smith is too athletic too just give away. Did yall forget he was the youngest player in NBA history to 1000 blocks? We need to dump Marvin Williams and move everyone down in the starting order after we pick up a real center. PF – Horford Sf- Smith Sg- Johnson Pg- Bibby
    And get rid of zaza pachulia i cant stand him.

  12. nick - Jul 8, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    this is sooooooooooooooooooooooooo fake. if the hawks did this there stadiom would empty. they would be hated. and lose 70 games. i mean they need to make money. jj a rich man now. hes probally at home smokin a blunt thinking about a freakin mansion hes gunna buy. if the trad josh smith they wont be able to pay of jj. they get sued go into the red. and be forced to sell the team. if the dont trade josh smmit noe of this will occur

  13. SLIM - Jul 14, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Thank you
    you need size and talent in this league
    here’s my list
    Kendrick Perkins
    Samuel Dalembert
    Emeka Okafor
    Greg Oden
    Hasheem Thabeet
    these guys could upgrade the frontcourt 3-4-5
    and give us more size in the post 3-4-5
    Josh was the most efficient player followed by Joe and then Al

  14. david - Aug 11, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    slim get out of here cus one kendrick perkins is a scrub two i dnt even know who sameul dalembert is three emeka okafor deosnt even put up as mant points like josh does greg oden is alwasy hurt and needs surgry and hasheem thabeet come now let josh stay in atlanta

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