Josh Smith has been a facet of trade rumors very reminiscent to the one that were shouldered by Dwight Howard just a year ago. It has been a bumpy ride this year for Smith. However, despite the many rumors that stated that Smith would stay in Atlanta, the Hawks have opted to keep Smith. There are many possible reason why this may be. For one, Smith is sitting on an expiring contract that could result in the NBA world seeing one of the better free agent pools since 2010. With Smith likely signing a contract with a new team for maximum (or very close ) money this off-season, the Hawks could simply be using Smith for as much as they can while he’s gone. With no probable intentions on contending for a championship for at least another two years, the Hawks may simply want to be as good as they possibly can while at the same time possibly attract other free agents to “Chocolate City”. It will be sad to see Smith go, but at the same time, good things don’t last forever. The biggest question that we should be asking ourselves is if this was the best idea possible for Smith, as well as the Hawks? Personally, I say no. I believe that the Hawks should’ve traded off Smith while they had the chance. Hell, in today’s NBA, good players with expiring contracts are very valuable. There are some teams that would give their left leg (Detroit) for the talent and contract of Smith. Atlanta missed out on a great opportunity; or did they?
Another thing that could’ve held back Atlanta from shipping out Smith is the trade packages they were offered. If anyone remembers the Carmelo Anthony trade just a couple of years ago, Denver shipped out Anthony in return for nearly New York’s entire squad. In the end, it was worth it for both teams being that it cleared up cap space for the future acquisitions of Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd in NY, and the successful rebuilding process in Denver that saw the acquisitions of Andre Igoudala alongside the heavily talented Danilo Galinari and Wilson Chandler. If only other teams had the mind to work a trade like that, Smith could’ve been part of a nie package deal that would’ve been prosperous for both sides, if not more than that. While I’m not necessarily comparing Smith to Carmelo Anthony, his situation is very similar to the few star in recent years that have sat in a trade limbo for some time.
At this point the next question we ask ourselves is where exactly will we see Smith next season. Just off of a hunch, I can almost guest that it probably won’t be in Atlanta. There are a lot of teams that could profit off of smith’s talent. At this point in the season, Smith is averaging 17ppg, 4apg, and 6rpg; great stats that would be accepted by many fantasy owners, let alone actual GMs. The best place for Smith would be Detroit at this point. The Pistons are in dire need of a bonafide scorer, and Smith would certainly give them that option. Likewise, Smith would benefit from the Pistons generously free cap space. Also, we all know that Joe Dumars is infamous for overpaying prospects (Ben Gordon and Charlie V.) therefore putting all of his eggs in one basket. With that, going to trade could earn Smith the respect he feels he deserves, while putting a little extra cash in his pocket. However, no matter what happens, we will know one thing for certain, Smith is currently playing his swan song in Atlanta. With me being a Detroit native, let’s hope he decides to land here.
Facebook- Jay Spearman