Be careful what you wish for …

Hey Josh Smith, true or false, the rumor mill loves you?

Hey Josh Smith, true or false, the rumor mill loves you?

HAWKSVILLE - If you believe what you read, and I’ll warn you that you can’t always do that where NBA rumors are concerned, Josh Smith’s name is generating some serious buzz on the trade rumor mill as the NBA draft approaches.

ESPN.com’s NBA Insider Chad Ford claims the big rumor of the day is that the Hawks are shopping Smith (I’ve had two Hawks sources insist to me this afternoon that they aren’t shopping Smith or anything like it, but what else do you expect them to say?), hoping to find a taker for their 23-year-old power forward (the one with the $6 million trade kicker and the love-him-or-hate-him debate stuck to his profile).

Normally, I’d take my garbage extinguisher and put down a silly, Hawks-related rumor before it starts burning. But not this one.

Even if the Hawks haven’t formally chatted up teams about the prospect of trading Smith, I know it’s been discussed internally. And here’s another warning, all those wanting to vote Smith off the island better be careful what you wish for. Aside from this being a win all the way around for Smith (if anything were to happen he’d get the $6 million, a move to a potentially better situation and he’d rid himself of all those folks groaning every time he does anything other than dunk or block a shot), it’s a huge gamble for the Hawks. There’s no way you move a player as young and talented as Smith without getting someone equally young and talented in return.

And Ford is absolutely right about one thing, there are plenty of teams that would love to snatch him away from the Hawks and plant him on their frontline for the next five to seven years and see just how much better he’ll get in that time.

I say this after having numerous conversations last summer and all season long with scouts and executives from teams around the league wondering just how good Smith might be if he played in another system (no one has ever seen him anywhere but in a Hawks uniform).

They won’t have to wait much longer to get a look. My sources inform me that Smith is headed to Las Vegas next month to participate in the USA Select team’s summer workout. He’ll be working with the same elite team of young stars that Al Horford worked with last summer as they helped prepare the Olympic team for their gold medal march in Beijing. (Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Iguodala, Rodney Stuckey, Kevin Martin and O.J. Mayo were some of the other young stars on that squad. Personally, I’d love to see Smith in that mix and see what kind of things he might do in that set up. Doesn’t sound like the kind of cat I’d be trying to get rid of, but hey, it’s not my call).

Something tells me that any NBA team wondering what Smith looks like free from the backcourt dominated system the Hawks run will be sitting in that gym in Vegas next month taking some serious notes as well. Horford earned raves from folks in attendance, many of whom asked later why they didn’t see any of that from him during the season.

It’s a legitimate question, especially for players that aren’t the No. 1 offensive option on their teams during the NBA season like Durant, Martin and Iguodala are on their teams.

Look no further than the recently completed NBA Finals for proof that patience (with talented but still developing young players) is a virtue that most teams would be wise to embrace.

Orlando had Trevor Ariza on their roster just as he was coming into his own but they couldn’t wait. It had to sting his old teammates watching him help the Lakers usher the Magic out of the Finals in five games. In fact, outside of Kobe Bryant and Derrick Fisher, the Lakers’ other main players during the series were all basically someone else’s cast offs. Miami sent Lamar Odom packing (albeit for Shaquille O’Neal). And Memphis foolishly gave up on Pau Gasol (swapping him for Kwame Brown, two passes to Six Flags over Georgia and a lifetime supply of Twizzlers … or something like that).

I’m not suggesting that teams should never trade away young talent. There are certainly times when a parting of the way works for both sides.

I’m only warning that you better know exactly what it is you are doing when you enter this realm (and we still don’t know for sure if this is only idle chatter, speculation rooted in some real conversations or just 226 words of complete nonsense designed to stoke the pre-draft flames).

Either way, the Hawks are on the clock (draft and otherwise) between now and training camp. And it appears that we aren’t the only ones watching to see what they do.

345 comments Add your comment

Baracked the vote!

June 15th, 2009
7:44 pm

From what i have read about this year’s draft, which i admit is very little, it is not very deep. also, trading smith for pick(s) would give the hawks’ front office a wonderful opportunity to screw up. is this steming from Smith’s altercations with Woodson or, are they just completely out of their minds?

DHD

June 15th, 2009
7:44 pm

Swap Smith for a draft pick and sign Chris Bosh and Andre Miller.

UGA Alum

June 15th, 2009
7:44 pm

UGA Alum

June 15th, 2009
7:45 pm

Tony from Stone Mountain

June 15th, 2009
8:00 pm

Wouldn’t trading Smith for a draft pick be a step backward for the Hawks? Aren’t we suppose to be moving forward by adding veterans? (Hopefully a center)

Halsey

June 15th, 2009
8:02 pm

The Hawks need to make some kind of bold move this offseason. If they trade Smith, maybe they can get a true starting quality center and then move Horford to his proper position at power forward. I don’t know if moving Smith would be the right move, but the Hawks will be stuck in neutral if they don’t do something bold this offseason. I’d personally rather see the Hawks take a chance than be satidfied with just resigning a few guys and drafting some guy at 19 who likely won’t do much.

BosnianBaller

June 15th, 2009
8:04 pm

I agree with you Sekou.I think Joe and Smith should be untouchable.Even if we get draft picks Sund is horrible at drafting players.Look at his record in Seattle.He drafted 4 centers in 4 straight years(Collison,Sene,Swift,and another scrub0.If they were to trade anyone it should be Marvin or Horford

JM

June 15th, 2009
8:04 pm

I think this is just the Hawks doing their due diligence. If you have a player that’s as in as much demand as Smoove supposedly is, you might as well see what other teams would be willing to give you for him. I don’t think Sund will move him unless it’s in a package to bring us an impact center or point guard. Since I don’t think that’s very likely to happen, I expect to see Smoove back in a Hawks uniform next year.

Darrin "The Vent King"

June 15th, 2009
8:08 pm

This is not good….trade Woodson instead. J Smith is not the only player to have issues with that coach. He is just not hiding like the others i.e. “being professional”. They’ve all tuned chrome dome all the way out and NBA insiders know it as well as the GM. Why do you think they have not offered Woody an extension- the writing is on the wall. You trade Smith and you trade away about one of the main reasons folks in Atlanta even show up for the games. If they trade him, it BETTER be for someone really good, otherwise it’ll be just another in a LONNNNNNNNG line of dumb moves by this franchise.

Just rename them the Atlanta “Kill My” Spirit Group and get it over with…

richbrave

June 15th, 2009
8:08 pm

O.K. here’s the inside the locker room poop. The WIZARDS get JOSH SMITH and rights to JOSH CHILDRESS. You get CARON BUTLER, JAVARIS CRITTENTON, and the #5 pick in the draft( homie, JORDAN HILL).

Dadddy Long Long

June 15th, 2009
8:14 pm

I dams sure hope the Hawks don’t screw up and trade Josh. We just need Dwight Howard to come home and play C, so Josh can play SF, Horford at PF, and get a nice combo guard in the draft this year. No need to push the panic button in upper mgmt. Time to build a team to play for a championship in the next two years, not rebuild on hope. Go Hawks!

RAD

June 15th, 2009
8:15 pm

Sekou,

I agree with you. Hawk fans need to be careful for what they ask for. I am a huge Josh Smith fan. The only reason that I would want Josh to be traded would be to see him flourish in another system with a coach who knows what he’s doing. I guess if we let Josh get away, it won’t take Hawk fans long to forget about the Dominique Wilkins for Danny Manning trade.

chuckw/deadjournalist

June 15th, 2009
8:18 pm

I don’t know whether the churning from my stomach is the thought loosing Josh Smith or from dinner, but either way, it makes for interesting fodder heading into the draft.

The idea of trading Smith comes back to assets – and he’s maybe the biggest one on the Hawks. He’s young, talented and signed to a relatively affordable contract despite the trade kicker. If his trade could add comparable talent that would allow the Hawks to improve, then by all means, it should be done.

But on the other hand, he’s young, talented and signed to an affordable contract who is already on the team. He provides plus weak-side defender, a fantastic shot blocker, has a good up-and-down game and in a more fitting offensive system, could easily average 20/8 if not 24/8.

I can’t sit here and begin to understand what goes on in the locker room, on the practice court or in the huddle, but despite his inconsistencies on the court he’s dynamic. The guy’s still young. Maybe he never matures on the court, but even if that’s the case, he’d still be a significant asset for a sign-and-trade in a few years.

Trading J-Smoove might allow Al Horford to move to the 4 but then who would play the 5? Loose Zaza in free agency and now the only other signed big is the esteemed Mr. Morris.

Look, as a life-long Hawks fan I’m all for making this team but I’d sure have to be a blockbuster to no leave huge question mark stamped over the franchise until next March.

ATL Fan

June 15th, 2009
8:20 pm

Fire Woodson and find a coach that Smith and the rest of the players RESPECT. Sign Mark Jackson, Kenny Smith, or Avery Johnson….basically a coach that knows how to get a young team to play defense. They have the talent the offense doesn’t have and identity and the defense is terrible. They win of talent not coaching, so just imagine what they could do with a quality coach.

newkid

June 15th, 2009
8:21 pm

Bradley, nice try (not), but your well-documented infatuation with Smith completely taints your fairly poor effort at objectivity. Like many others who visit here, you’ve well established (through previous opinions) that you’re far more enamored with the idea of retaining someone you’re convinced will be the best player on the side in a few years (even if the side never makes a real run at the O’Brien trophy during his tenure) than you are with the ASG building a team that has a legitimate chance at playing in June. So what if Smith does well in another system (great for him), so long at the value the Hawks receive in return pushes our side closer to the O’Brien than does retention of Smith. I’m not a Smith basher; I’m a fan of June play. If moving Smith (or one of the other pieces) gets us a June parade on Peachtree, what could be disagreeable about that. If you’re quick, each year in November – for about $160 for the season – NBA Season Pass will allow you to follow Smith and his exploitss all across the US.

newkid

June 15th, 2009
8:23 pm

Oops, sorry Sekou, but from the tenor of your words I thought I was reading a Bradley blog.

Halsey

June 15th, 2009
8:26 pm

If you don’t want the Hawks to take any chances this offseason then you are just asking to watch them be a 45 to 50 win team that makes it no further than the second round of the playoffs. They are not going to compete with Orlando or Cleveland in coming years without being significantly better than what they were last year. The goal should be to win a Championship, not be 3rd or 4th best in the conference. The Hawks cannot be afraid to take chances.

jhawk2002

June 15th, 2009
8:27 pm

You remember what happened the last time we traded for a hometown boy… (cough) Shareef Abdul Rahim (cough). But I doubt Orlando lets him leave.

RobertNAtl

June 15th, 2009
8:38 pm

Trading Josh Smith would be the event that AJC columnists write about for the *next* 20 years when they are wondering where it all went wrong for the Hawks. It will go down as #1 in the Hawks’ front office all-time screw-ups, right ahead of all the PG’s we decided not to draft earlier this decade, ahead of the brilliant Isaiah Rider acquisition, etc., etc.

Given that it is the Hawks’ front office we are talking about, of course, there is probably a 70/30 chance they will go ahead and deal him for a soon-to-be-forgotten #5 and a couple of draft picks.

Don Pardo

June 15th, 2009
8:38 pm

Trading Smith for a draft choice, other than Blake Griffin ( not going to happen) would clearly be insane, and a HUGE step backward.

I can’t believe they going to move a player who has the most upside of anyone on the team to please a coach with only one year left on his contact. The spirit can be that stupid, can they? Really?
Quick Mike Gearon, pick up the phone, it’s James Dolan, he want his title back as the NBA’s dumbest owner.

niremetal

June 15th, 2009
8:40 pm

Lol, newkid…I second the nomination of you for blogger of the year :)

Large in the Pants

June 15th, 2009
8:46 pm

Only trade him if you can get a player with the total package.

Someone truly endowed.

JT

June 15th, 2009
8:46 pm

Josh Smith is a talent. He is still pretty raw at times. I agree – be carefull what we ask for. On one hand, we as fans get frustrated at JS for some of the mental lapses, shot selection, etc. however a good point was made – he has only played for the hawks and Woodson and he is 23.

To say that Woodson seems inspiring would be like calling Stan Van Gundy a voice of calm and stability. We all want a true center and a point guard (depending on Bibby) going forward but does that mean we simply trade Josh for hope in the draft? Granted Woodson has a record that has only improved in his tenure but could it really go in any other direction at least the first few years?

We’ve got to address the Center position and allow Horford to play the P. Forward. Horford is not tradeable in my opinion – he is the one that brings the heart and passion which if anyone watched the finals – Kobe is the epitomy of leadership on a team and we need guys that are quality and bring those intangibles. Bottom line get a solid center, keep subtracting pieces weighing us down for a piece or two that adds value and see where we go one last year under Woodson.

I don’t necessarily like the play from Woodson’s teams but we’ve been playing without a true center this whole time. Again, look at the Lakers (Gasol/Bynum), Boston Last year vs. this year without Garnett; Orlando with Dwight to make it to the finals and then look at Cleveland and the Hawks – no true bigs.

We don’t have a true superstar like some of those teams either but we do have a lot of talent and with our current debacle as an ownership group I would trust us making minimal moves versus major ones at this point – meaning add a true big, subtract some baggage and see what happens in Woody’s potential last year – then we should really know what we have and don’t.

O'brien

June 15th, 2009
8:49 pm

Great blog as always Sekou.
Unfortunately for Josh, ever since high school, the only coach he has played for is Woody. And Woody has no offensive system, except “iso JJ” and “JJ pound the ball and then pass to Josh with the shot clock winding down”.

If Woody would play inside out, instead of outside in, both Josh and Al would take another step forward in their development. As long as Woody is the coach, I don’t know if Josh will ever realize his potential in a Hawks uniform.

That being said, the only way I trade Josh is if the deal involves at least 2 pieces, one of which must be a legit starting center (or a legit starting PG), and another piece, or an All-Star.

KLR

June 15th, 2009
8:53 pm

Don’t you see the obvious staring you in the face? Here’s Sekou’s quote: I say this after having numerous conversations last summer and all season long with scouts and executives from teams around the league wondering just how good Smith might be if he played in another system (no one has ever seen him anywhere but in a Hawks uniform).

Who determines what system he plays in? Woodson and he is the one who should go. Then the Hawks could be ones who see how could he could really be.

Dell

June 15th, 2009
8:56 pm

Man please…….. don’t believe everything you read! This man has nothing to talk about, so he starts rumors.

B

June 15th, 2009
8:57 pm

Trading Josh Smith before you fire Mike Woodson is way forward. Also, signing Joe Johnson to a $20,000,000 extension this a good step, too! And yeah, we can sign Lindsey Hunter and Mike James as our PG and C!
Now after we do all of that, we can expect our club to win 60+ games and be Eastern Conference contenders! Yeah!

*Joking*

J Smoove the coach killer

June 15th, 2009
8:58 pm

Trade him. He can’t shoot from over 15 feet, and won’t learn. He kills us with his showboating during crunch time, and he is keeping big Al from his true All Star potential at PF. Then that still leaves us with the human enigma, Marvin Williams.

B

June 15th, 2009
9:01 pm

Opps! I meant “Jerome James”, not “Mike James”.

darrell starks

June 15th, 2009
9:08 pm

Who talking about trading josh sekou for who?
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!

Brendan

June 15th, 2009
9:12 pm

Okay, what I don’t know about basketball could fill a warehouse, so be patient with me. But didn’t the Hawks have to match an RFA offersheet just to KEEP Josh Smith last offseason? And now, they’re thinking about trading him? Does this make any kind of sense? The Hawks should be happy they kept their player. And what must Joe Johnson be thinking about Smith being potentially traded? Okay, he probably just ignores rumors. Let me rephrase, imagine what he’d think IF Josh Smith got traded?

May I ask you longtime Hawks fans a question? Didn’t it feel good to win a playoff series this year? Forget, for the moment, that the Hawks aren’t ANYWHERE NEAR NBA title contention. But wasn’t that a positive step in the right direction? Okay then. Why dismantle it? You should be ADDING pieces. Joe Johnson could be gone at the end of his contract. If you guys trade Josh Smith, are you happy with what’s left?

I’m going to dismiss this one as idle hearsay. I doubt the Spirit Boys are stupid enough to let this happen. So, when is Josh Childress coming back? Does he like Greece?

darrell starks

June 15th, 2009
9:12 pm

O for lebron you had me scared for min.
GO HAWSK!!!!!!!!!!

chaz

June 15th, 2009
9:13 pm

People people, get a dose of reality, if the hawks trade josh smith they WILL NOT get a superstar in return. After getting the CASH every superstar(xept A.I.) wants a ring, thats the only way you get respect in this league, and until the HAWKS get a new coach with a new philosophy they will not get a superstar or a ring no time soon. So the superstars will only go to teams that have a chance to get that ring. This off season will be no different than any other in atlanta, they make a trade ever year but the return value will only be a certain type of player in this city.

Get a real coach who really coaches. And that coach will bring his own type of players to the team; that means at least 6 current players will be gone from this team and may just maybe that real superstar will come to atlanta.

[...] Further reading: Esteemed colleague Sekou Smith offers his incisive take on the Josh Smith situation. [...]

chaz

June 15th, 2009
9:18 pm

ps please trade joe johnson, this guy was a sixth man in phoenix and here he is a suppose all star(who disappeared again in the playoffs). gimme a break. hes a good complement to a team not THE go to player in crunch time. stop hyping him up.

The Truth

June 15th, 2009
9:18 pm

Sekou
Assuming this rumor has legs (and that’s a big if), the only planning scenario that would make sense would be to replace Josh with a bona fide center and to move AL to the 4. Maybe the plan is to beef-up our frontline presence, which we have repeatedly talked about often on this blog. If you follow this logic, than it would suggest a big center has been made available to the Hawks so Josh becomes expendable. Perhaps it’s Anderson. I say that because I can’t think of a bona fide center in the NBA that is expendable. If this theory is true, than I could at least see the merit; Simple put, as it stands now, we are going nowhere very far with the tweener frontline with AL and Josh, 2 PF starters. Something has to give.

Greg

June 15th, 2009
9:20 pm

Sekou, we know we shouldn’t trade Josh because I’m sure you’ll write a blog in 2 days about how chiseled and how much better he looks after working hard the past month. I’m waiting for that blog about Marvin and Solo too.

chaz

June 15th, 2009
9:20 pm

i really like the hawks but watch what other teams do this off season to prepare for next season and watch the hawks do the same ol trade for a retread guard, and a big man who;s a carbon copy of the other big men on this team. stop trying to be the detroit pistons of 2004-5

Mz. Hawkdafied

June 15th, 2009
9:22 pm

This is why I hate the offseason. Now I’m officially starting to worry! The suspense of just thinking about the moves the Hawks make this summer is driving me bonkers. I want to riot, shake a few cars, beat a few poles with a bat, and hurt a few police officers. No just kidding! But seriously I would like the satisfaction of seeing my Hawks win a championship in my lifetime. Every time the Hawks are on track toward being champions, management fudges it up.

1956: The Day The Hawks Lost Bill Russell- before my time but at least 9-11 banners would probably be hanging in the arena today.

The Hawks let the Celtics take Bill Russell. One of the greatest big men ever. Ahhh.

It’s time for the Hawks to start a new legacy. End the legacy of screwing up and getting rid of great players.

AGTFan

June 15th, 2009
9:22 pm

Not going to get Kobe. Not going to get Dwight. NOT going to trade Josh!

darrell starks

June 15th, 2009
9:24 pm

Rick Sund isnt that retarted is he sekou?
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!

1 + 2

June 15th, 2009
9:27 pm

The issue has never been the young talent on the squad, it has been the coach. I believe the best hire for the Hawks would be Sam Mitchell. He worked with Garnett and Bosh, and those two became all stars. Josh and Horford need someone that can mentor them (Josh also needs someone he can respect). My fear is that Sund and the Spirit are going to waste another season on Woodson before they finally come to their senses that he is not the one. Therefore, forget all of the trade talk about Josh. If this franchise it stupid enough to trade a 23 year old w/ unlimited potential, then it deserves everything it gets (a decrease in the franchise value).

SlimG

June 15th, 2009
9:29 pm

Don’t trade Jsmoove period. Kid’s only 23 and most players are just getting out of college at that age. We have many years left to win and we only need a couple of pieces. To repeat, don’t trade him or your fan base that Woody has built in the last few years will disappear. Think there was an outcry with MV7, just wait till this goes down. Riot in ATL!

Mz. Hawkdafied

June 15th, 2009
9:29 pm

I’m scared, very afraid! Biting my nails! Just hoping the Hawks do not screw up! Trade Josh for a draft pick, heck no! Doesn’t makes sense! Shaking my head at that rumor.

R. U. KIDDINME

June 15th, 2009
9:31 pm

AT 23 YEAR’S OF AGE JOSH’S BEST YEAR’S ARE AHEAD OF HIM! IF ANYTHING GET A “REAL” NBA CALIBER COACH WHOM IS JOB SCARED!! ANY IMPROVEMENT TO DATE WITH THIS TEAM HAS BEEN DONE INSPITE OF WOODY!! SETTING ON THE BENCH WILL NOT GAIN PLAYER’S VALUABLE KNOWLEDGE(ACIE LAW) OF THE GAME NOR DOES IT ADD MUCH NEEDED DEPTH TO BE COMPETITIVE IN THE LEAGUE! THIS IS BY FAR THE BIGGEST GRIPE I HAVE WITH WOODROW AND FOR MY DOLLAR’S TO BE SPENT AT PHILIP’S ARENA EVER AGAIN HE’S GOTTA GO! PERIOD!! ATLANTA SPIRIT…RICK SUND….DO YOU HEAR ME!!! NO MORE CLOSE CALL’S WITH SUCCESS!! WE,THE FAN’S DEMAND AND DESERVE A CONSISTENT WINNER THAT WILL CHALLENGE FOR “THE” TITLE!!! GET TO IT NOW!!!

Big Ray

June 15th, 2009
9:34 pm

I know a point guard out there that could really help this ball club…

Someone who’s been in the league for a few years who Woodson has shown he likes…

Royal Ivey waived his player option today. An exceptional defender, 3 pt shooter, and scorer, he is exactly what we need

SlimG

June 15th, 2009
9:35 pm

Do what JT said!

Sund & Bradley Seperated @ Birth

June 15th, 2009
9:37 pm

Coach woodson was in Orlando Last night. Lets hope he is switching postitions with Van Gundy. And Take Sunds and Bradley with him…GOOOOO Jsmoove Joe Johnson Al Horford Acie Law Marvin Williams Za Za Pachulia Flip Murray….GOOOOOOO HAWKS!!

darrell starks

June 15th, 2009
9:40 pm

Lets keep it real in the playoffs when ask the? what player determine if the hawks lose or win in the playoffs 90percent of the nasayer said josh because he is and impact player who changes the game when he is on no one said joe,bibby,marvin,horford,flip, or any one else so why would you trade 23 year old who has that much potential from and organization that has never accomplish any thing in the history of this franchise its make no sense.
GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!

Mike In Valdosta

June 15th, 2009
9:42 pm

Smith for three…. BRICK

Smith leads a one on four break…. TURNOVER

He is going to be a great player someday, but not until he plays within himself.