About two weeks ago, Josh Smith once again had a run in with coach Larry Drew, which is about the 50th time he has had a run in with a player, coach or someone in management, while with the Atlanta Hawks. He has long wanted a trade and there is a very good chance that he will be traded before the February deadline, especially since he is going to be a free agent and will most likely be gone after the season anyway. They need to cash in on him, rather than lose him for nothing. He is an incredible talent, as he is an excellent scorer, a fantastic defender and an elite athlete, but he still seems to be emotionally immature.
He has been in the league for almost a decade, yet is still only 27 years old and year after year, produces All-Star caliber numbers, despite never making the actual team. Since he will be a free agent after the season, there is the risk for the team trading for him that he will not resign, so verbal commitment of staying long-term will probably be needed from Smith to make any move. However, talents like Smith do not go on the market every day and there will be plenty of teams interested in him, despite his ego and the massive contract he will demand after the season.
The Hawks will want three possible things in a trade for Smith, expiring contracts to add to their already massive cap space, an equal talent, or big-time prospects and draft picks. His stock may be slightly lowered because of the Hawks’ recent slide and his recent poor behavior, but the Hawks know his value and teams know his talents, so the Hawks will still get quite the deal in return for Smith. Regardless, it is time for the Hawks and Smith to move on and for the Hawks to continue to rebuild. If they do complete a deal, they will have Al Hoford, Jeff Teague, their massive cap space and whatever they get for Smith to build around, which is an excellent foundation for a bright future.
Potential Buyers: Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors