The Hawks’ ship be sinkin’. Their most complete player, 26-year-old forward Josh Smith, has notified the team he’s ready to move on and wants a fresh start in another city. The NBA trade deadline is six days away, and Smith wants out.
What a damaging blow to a franchise that just eight months ago invested $123 million in aging Joe Johnson and lost Al Horford to injury this year. Smith, a SF/PF hybrid who excels at blocking shots and dunking, happens to be having one of his best seasons as a pro:
He has averaged 17 points, almost 10 rebounds, 3.5 assists and two blocks. When center Al Horford went down early this season, Smith stepped up and took on a bigger role. When guard Joe Johnson went down, Smith went on to carry this team.
Atlanta’s obviously going to try to package Smith and Johnson and just start over. A decent trade attempt might be to dangle those two in exchange for Dwight Howard, who is from Atlanta.
Another option: What if the Nets said, “Hey, Atlanta, we’ll give you cheaper Brook Lopez and two other expiring deals – say, Anthony Morrow and Shawne Williams” in exchange for Josh Smith. The ESPN trade machine thinks that is kind of fair.
Then, the Nets improve their position to re-sign Deron Williams, and possibly pursue Dwight Howard. How nice would a Big 3 of Deron, J Schmoove and D12 be?
I’d love to toss the Knicks in the mix with some sort of Josh Smith-for-Amare deal, but that’s so hilarious I couldn’t even type it. Unless, of course, the Hawks want to have two of the worst contracts in the league in 2014.