Atlanta Hawks: Josh Smith still wants to be traded

Miami–Even as Josh Smith is having a strong season for the Hawks he has let the team know he wants to be traded as the March 15 deadline approaches, according to people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.

And the reasons for Smith’s dissatisfaction with the team now have to make the Hawks wonder if they will be able to sign him to a contract extension next season.

By the end of last season Smith wanted out of Atlanta because he believed he was singled out for unfair criticism by coaches and media. Those concerns have died down for the most part this season but now Smith believes he needs a fresh start with a franchise where he can better reach his potential on and off the court, according to one of the people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.

The person said one of Smith’s complaints is that he believes the Hawks didn’t do enough to promote him for selection to the All-Star team, which he thinks contributed to lesser players being voted to the team by Eastern Conference coaches. Smith, an Atlanta native who has played his entire eight-year career with the Hawks, also would like to play for a franchise he believes is more committed to winning a championship.

As the trade deadline approaches, the Hawks have taken calls from teams interested in acquiring Smith—Golden State is among the teams who have inquired. But the Hawks so far have given no indication that they intend to part with Smith, who likely would command a high price in a trade.

Smith, 26, is under contract through next season, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. If the Hawks don’t trade Smith and can’t alleviate his concerns by then, they face the real possibility of him signing with another team in the summer of 2013 because there figures to be a strong market for him.

I asked Smith about all of this last night before the Hawks played the Heat but he declined to comment. This is the third season in a row he’s been at the center of trade rumors.

“I really don’t pay any attention to it,” he said. “I just go out there and play the way I play and not worry about anything else. I know this is a business. Whatever happens, happens in the long run. But I know as long as I’m with the Hawks, I have to put my best foot forward.”

This season Smith is averaging 17.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals. No other player in the league can match those numbers across all categories. It’s that all-around productivity that makes the Hawks reluctant to part with Smith.

Smith’s value as a defender at the basket becomes obvious when Hawks opponents drive to rim when Smith goes to the bench.

“People look at the offensive end but defensively he changes the game,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said recently. “He is one of the few players I think that can play a defensive game and impact the game even if his offense is not on that night.”

The main knock on Smith’s game is his shooting.

After making 39 percent of his long two-point shots last season, a mark that was right at the league average, Smith is making just 31 percent of those attempts this season while attempting nearly two more per game. However, he’s attempting more shots per game at the basket and fewer 3-pointers than last season and his free-throw rate is up slightly.

Smith’s free-throw percentage has plummeted to a career-low 57.7 percent this season after he made a career-high 72.5 percent in 2010-11. His free-throw percentage has improved over the last 20 games or so.

Smith said he’s improved his free-throw shooting by taking his time at the line and expects his jump shots to start falling more often as the season goes on.

“It’s a long season but it came to you real quick,” he said. “They are throwing games at us left and right. If you look around the league most people’s percentages are down more so than usual.”

Smith’s emotional demeanor on the court has drawn fire from critics and has caused friction with teammates at times. But Jerry Stackhouse , an Atlanta resident who had developed a relationship with Smith before joining the Hawks this season, said Smith has grown in that area and Smith’s ability makes it difficult for the Hawks to trade him.

“His talent, that’s what you can’t give up on with Josh,” Stackhouse said. “It’s easy to say, ‘All right, let’s just move him.’ And then he goes and clicks at the next stop and you’ve got to look at that every night and you had it in house. That’s kind of the dilemma with Josh. You know you are going to get some uneasy moments from time to time but, for the most part, he’s really about winning. He wants to win. He’s competitive. I relate to that.

“How he handles his emotions and frustrations, sometimes he rubs people the wrong way and bruises them. But I think he’s happy-go-lucky. He thinks, ‘It was just heat of the moment’ and we can move on from it but he can bruise people. I think he’s learning that. He is learning to control his emotions a little better and it’s good for our team. The better Josh Smith is, the better the Atlanta Hawks are.”

Smith said his emotion fuels his performance but he’s made an effort to tone it down in the past couple seasons. He said he’s especially done so this year as injuries to Al Horford and Joe Johnson have increased the team’s reliance on him.

“I’m definitely an emotional player but I’m kind of bottling it up, understanding the importance of what my team needs and just trying to stay positive and have constructive criticism when possible,” he said. “Now I’m at the point of my career where I can voice my opinion a little bit more and it will be recognized more than back in the day [when] it got drowned out more so than anything else.

“[Teammates] know that I have good intentions, no matter how it’s delivered. I am saying stuff because I want to win games. It’s not nothing personal or to try to hurt or bash any one of my teammates or anyone else.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

754 comments Add your comment

Grandad

March 8th, 2012
3:37 pm

Josh for Bynum

I would do that.

Nick

March 8th, 2012
3:38 pm

If the trade is with GS, I say hold out for Curry.

[...] like his close friend Dwight Howard, Josh Smith wants a new team. According to Michael Cunningham of the AJC, one of the reasons Josh Smith wants out is because [...]

slydog

March 8th, 2012
3:40 pm

Trade him. Trade him now while his value is at it’s highest. Blow up this team. Joe Johnson’s contract makes it almost impossible to improve this team without acquiring Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudamire, or Darren Williams. I would trade him to New York for Stoudamire. Or trade him to Charlotte or some other team that stinks for a lottery pick. And do it now!!!

ccarking

March 8th, 2012
3:40 pm

well we will agree to disagree as the conversation i just had could not be more solid.On the idea of the hawks if they were to trade Josh with his trade kicker of 15% as well as cap issues with hawks there is NO way any where close to equal value could be recieved in return for josh without further hurting the future of the hawks. Now if rumors are the flavor of the month I think the Joe for Monta and bedrins would be one of the best moves long term the hawks could ever make. then you could build around a core of josh,al and teauge. Would love to meet you MC sometime at a game and chat. We sit sec 119 row hh ( with joshs family) thanks again for the great reporting and the frequent Tweets !

kuhndog

March 8th, 2012
3:40 pm

joe for Monta yeah,they dont want that fat contract.how about marvin and hinrich for Ellis?

slydog

March 8th, 2012
3:41 pm

And yes, that lottery pick should be used on Anthony Davis or Jared Sullinger.

prison mike

March 8th, 2012
3:41 pm

The spiritless group would never do it. They could amnesty Joe we’ll have 17 million under the cap to throw at Dwight this summer.

You would then trade Horford to fill out the roster possibly a draft day blockbuster involving a top 5 pick.

Teague
?
Marvin
Josh
Dwight

Ryan

March 8th, 2012
3:42 pm

The Hawks will do the typical ASG thing and stand pat or get worse at the trade deadline. Saw it for 10 years with the hockey team and now that their gone it appears that philosophy will shift to the basketball team.

Terrell

March 8th, 2012
3:42 pm

Here’s what you guys are missing, if he wants to be traded and teams know this then they will low ball Atlanta because they know Atlanta won’t be able to resign him in the summer correct? Based on the play so far I believe and I hope that the Hawks will amnesty JJ next season (nobody is going to pay $18M+ for him) and trade Al Horford and center this team around Josh Smith.

alex

March 8th, 2012
3:43 pm

it,s good news for ownership smaller payroll and smaller crowd means they on the way to dump second pro sport franchise out of Atlanta, remarkable achievement from clown asg. soon Phillips arena going to be ready for no stop circus all 365 day in year.

[...] • Michael Cunningham, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Even as Josh Smith is having a strong season for the Hawks he has let the team know he wants to be traded as the March 15 deadline approaches, according to people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking. [...]

Grandad

March 8th, 2012
3:47 pm

Josh to OKC
-for-
Harden & Aldrich … I would do that … yes I would.

Grandad

March 8th, 2012
3:48 pm

Harden, Aldrich, & filler

atlthrasha404

March 8th, 2012
3:49 pm

Never trade Josh Smith. If we do we will regret it for the next 5 years.

John Parks Brown

March 8th, 2012
3:49 pm

No. No. No! Never! If anything, with Joe and Horford out, he’s proven this is his team. They have some quality wins without their 2 All Stars out, and Josh leading the way. I agree with him about the organization. But, I don’t want him gone. He’s just entering his prime. Either get Blake Griffin or Kevin Durant back in return, or don’t do it. All you people who are Josh haters don’t understand the NBA or the game of basketball. Stop watching it.

John

March 8th, 2012
3:49 pm

I like Josh, but does he not realize that Atlanta is a tame sports city and he will get more blame for his boneheaded outside shots more anywhere else than he does here? He and the Hawks are in a tough spot. Josh will not be traded somewhere that is closer to a title because whatever team he goes to will have to give up alot to get him. Look at Carmelo last year, though he was more about being in a bigger market. Same thing with Dwight. I doubt anywhere he goes will be any closer to winning than the Magic are.

slydog

March 8th, 2012
3:51 pm

Trade for Lamarcus Aldridge

KevinM

March 8th, 2012
3:52 pm

G-Dad, I hear good things about Aldrich and they are looking for minutes for him, but Collison might be easier to get and I get Maynor to help Teague for 2012. Again, LD doesn’t like youth and Maynor will be a good complement in Year 4.
Harden to me is just an assassin, and he isn’t long for OKC. They can’t pay that guy like KD or Westbrook. Harden starts for me if we can get Joe out of the way.

Heisenberg

March 8th, 2012
3:52 pm

Sign Peyton Manning to play PG. He can wave his arms around to call plays and yell out fake screen rolls to confuse the defense while setting up to throw the lob.

dawgster7

March 8th, 2012
3:53 pm

This team needs to be gutted anyway. Boringggggggggggggggggg.

Michael Cunningham

March 8th, 2012
3:55 pm

@Heisenberg (”I am the one who knocks!”): “I am not a Joe hater, but if someone else wants that contract for Monta Ellis I would make that deal now.”

so would i. the hawks would kill three birds with one stone:

1. get out from under Joe’s contract.
2. play at a faster pace
3. from business standpoint, create some needed buzz

Monta is small and an awful defender so you’d have to work around that. at least he’d be playing alongside Teague (assuming Teague isn’t part of the deal). but i think the positives, especially No. 1, outweigh the negatives.

Jamaaliver

March 8th, 2012
3:56 pm

This is a break-up that is LOOOONG overdue. He has plateaued as far as his development and clearly he won’t sniff a championship with this organization. The front office is lucky he’s requesting a trade. otherwise he could just walk away next summer and we’d be left with only the cap space…

Now a Smoove Believer

March 8th, 2012
3:58 pm

I was wrong….Josh Smith has shown leadership and emotional control on both offense and defense for the past several games, and is using this time to make the Hawks HIS team..not Joe’s (or Al’s).
Given the Hawks’ competitiveness these past two weeks, he has shown that his emotionality can be channeled to make the players around him believe that he can lead them to victory….if Josh keeps growing at this rate, he won’t have to worry abut all-star invites or championship series, they will come!

ATL21

March 8th, 2012
3:58 pm

I agree with Josh about being the puching bag! Look at his stats every year; he has improved on most. He fills up the box score and energize the Highlight Factory! Where do you think the Hawks would be this year w/o Josh? I like Al but would he be an All-Star this year at the PF? Trade Marvin,Kirk, draft picks 4 Brooks+1 pick?????

[...] For more on this story, see the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. [...]

Sautee

March 8th, 2012
3:59 pm

Grandad, I’d do that trade in a heartbeat. Harden is only 22 and has barely scratched his potential. If we have to trade Josh, that’s the kind of talent I want in return. And Aldrich could be a potent big off the bench.

Grandad

March 8th, 2012
4:03 pm

I think that between myself, KevinM, & Sautee;
we may get a James Harden bandwagon rolling.

Heisenberg

March 8th, 2012
4:04 pm

I like James Hardin, but where does Josh fit on the OKC front line with Perkins, I-block-ya, & that other guy? Not sure if I were OKC I would mess with that chemistry.

TMACfan

March 8th, 2012
4:04 pm

BRING HOME D12

Problem SOLVED!!!

atlthrasha404

March 8th, 2012
4:04 pm

Why is this even a question? Josh Smith is the best player the hawks have. There isnt a player in the league who can put up the numbers this man does on a nightly basis. Just let the trade talk go because when Al comes back the hawks with everybody healthy will be a serious threat.

TMACfan

March 8th, 2012
4:06 pm

The Hawks won’t find a taker for Joe Johnson and the $90 million he has coming to him over the next four years, but rival executives believe Kirk Hinrich could be on the move — perhaps filling the gaping two-guard hole on the Clippers. That depends on the asking price, as the Clips’ assets were diminished in the Chris Paul trade. Execs are torn on what strategy Atlanta ownership will pursue after the sale of the team fell through in November. With a healthy Al Horford, the Hawks almost certainly would be the third-best team in the East. But at some point down the road, a league source said, ownership may “keep Horford and try to dump the rest.”

This is from CBSsports

Pre-madonna

March 8th, 2012
4:07 pm

peace out! Don’t let the door hit you where the sun don’t shine. Overrated and whines more than Dikembe Mutombo. Those numbers don’t mean a thing when you can’t shoot. Most of the “#’s” are from fast break points. He can’t drive around anybody either on the offensive side of the ball. Slow when it come to dribbling. All he is worried about is himself and not team. Everytime I hear an interview with him its all about the All star game. Get over yourself!

Andrew Lipham

March 8th, 2012
4:08 pm

Josh Smith for Nene straight up.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 8th, 2012
4:09 pm

“Sign Peyton Manning to play PG. He can wave his arms around to call plays and yell out fake screen rolls to confuse the defense while setting up to throw the lob.”

LMAO

Andrew Lipham

March 8th, 2012
4:10 pm

Josh Smith has no leverage right now. I say we hold onto him until the offseason. Then have a contract negotiation with him so we can re-evaluate the direction of the team and whether or not he is going to sign the extension. It makes zero sense to trade him right now unless we get a serious star in return. Sorry Josh, you are going to have to stay with us for the rest of this year. Plus, does he not think we can go really far in the playoffs when Joe and Al come back?

Najeh Davenpoop

March 8th, 2012
4:10 pm

I am also on board for trading Josh for Harden, and I have always been on board for Josh for Bynum which the Lakers will never do in a million years. Harden is a good enough talent to get in return for Josh.

The future of this team still hinges on the Hawks’ ability to shed Joe’s contract, though. Until they do that, they are what they are, Josh or no Josh.

[...] has led to him requesting the Hawks trade him, according to Michael Cunningham at the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Even as Josh Smith is having a strong season for the Hawks he has let the team know he wants to be [...]

Sautee

March 8th, 2012
4:11 pm

Or Josh for Al Jefferson straight up.

doc has been touting that one for two years, even when AJ was with the T-Wolves. Don’t think that Utah would do it, though.

GT Alum

March 8th, 2012
4:11 pm

Sounds like maybe ASG is starting to understand the outcry over them giving JJ that contract. And the Hawks’ play the last few games is evidence that the Hawks wouldn’t necessarily have taken a huge step back without Joe.

Dawg

March 8th, 2012
4:12 pm

The Atlanta Hawks organization is not committed to building a championship. This is the underlying theme. We have the cheapest GM money can buy. We have the cheapest coaching staff money can buy. Poor Josh has had to build a career under the coaching of Larry and Woody. No wonder he has issues.

Josh is a talent that can carry this team. Look at the past few games. Joe can not carry a team. He actually is a liability despite being very talented.

Trade him ASG. We all lose!

JJ

March 8th, 2012
4:12 pm

From ESPN’s Chad Ford:

Impact Players Most Likely To Be Moved
(Ranked from most likely to least likely to be traded)

1. Rajon Rondo, G, Celtics
I know the Celtics are saying Rondo isn’t going anywhere. But there are two problems with that. (1) It doesn’t jibe with what a number of NBA GMs are saying based on conversations they’ve had with Celtics president Danny Ainge. (2) Ainge isn’t stupid. He doesn’t want to trade Rondo, but Rondo is the best chip he has to play right now.

If Ainge waits and does nothing, the Celtics will be a middling lottery team without much hope next season — in the same spot where Ainge inherited them a few years ago. He doesn’t want to go back there. If he can get two pieces back for Rondo, I think he’ll do it. Atlanta, Portland and Indiana are interesting destinations if they are willing to pay.

2. Josh Smith, F, Hawks
Again, I know what the Hawks are saying. “We’re not shopping anyone … yada, yada, yada.” The truth is, Rick Sund has been exploring possible Josh Smith deals for the past few years. If he could get a legit point guard and a credible forward to replace Smith, he’d do it. If the Celtics would offer Rondo, I think they’d have a deal. Ditto if the Suns would offer Steve Nash.

==========================================================================

There were more but this was obviously the most interesting. I would do Rondo and Garnett for Josh, Joe, and Teague in a heartbeat. Not sure if the money works.

rollow lawson

March 8th, 2012
4:13 pm

I knew this was coming. Josh Smith is fiery and wants too win and he is surrounded by a bunch of emotional stiffs. That includes coach Larry Drew. I, for one, love Josh showing passion and spirit. the front offices of Atlanta’s sports teams don’t know how to accept and handle passionate, out-spoken, flashy star players. They’d rather have a bunch of by the book, company guys as the franchise faces. Good luck with that Falcons and Braves. Now it appears that the Hawks have been corrupted by the same thinking. Watch Josh go somewhere like L.A. or New York and blow up.

GT Alum

March 8th, 2012
4:13 pm

Pre-madonna -

Do you actually watch Hawks’ games?

Sautee

March 8th, 2012
4:14 pm

“The future of this team still hinges on the Hawks’ ability to shed Joe’s contract, though. Until they do that, they are what they are, Josh or no Josh.”

Co-sign. I’d love to see an effort to trade Joe, now or at the latest this summer, and if we can’t, then go ahead and amnesty him before next season.

Dawg

March 8th, 2012
4:14 pm

Josh is the Hawks best player. The Hawks organization stinks!

Andrew Lipham

March 8th, 2012
4:15 pm

How bout we trade Joe and Al for Dwight?

Rick James

March 8th, 2012
4:17 pm

I dont know who the Hawks can get in return who is Josh’s equal on the floor.Josh’s game is indeed flawed and his flaws which are the choices that he makes unlike Marvin Williams who flaw is a lack of talent.I truly dont know the answer here but I think that being stuck with a max contract player that no other team wants is a bigger problem than Josh Smith.And that is a flaw that ownership/management created.If the Hawks are winning of course I will go watch them play.If they are losing and Josh is on the team there is still a reason to go see them.If they’re losing and Josh Smith is not on the team nobody else can attract people to to watch..I’d rather see the Hawks ship Marvin to Boston for whats left of Kevin Garnett

JJ

March 8th, 2012
4:18 pm

@Sautee:

No way in HELL Hawks can amnesty Joe any time soon. They’d still have to pay his salary less anything that another club would sign him to AND they would have to pay to replace him. Not going to happen.

Only hope to get rid of his contract anytime soon is to hope someone will take him in a package with Josh or hope there’s some other dope out there that will trade for him. Not likely.

[...] is reporting that Smith is requesting a trade to get out of Atlanta. With Smith under contract for another year [...]