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

James

March 8th, 2012
2:50 pm

Thought we should have traded him after last yr, but this saddens me now. Passionate Hawks fan, I want him to stay and I didn’t even know he wanted a trade. If we deal him though, we can get a boatload in return.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 8th, 2012
2:52 pm

If you trade him, better either get back a top of the line C (not Pau Gasol who can’t guard Cs) or blow up the core.

If Josh doesn’t think the organization wants to win a championship (and let’s face it, everyone who posts on this blog agrees with him), making a serious push for Dwight should at least make him reconsider.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 8th, 2012
2:53 pm

Normally I would be skeptical of “people who have knowledge of his thinking”, but considering how rarely MC posts trade rumors, I’m inclined to believe it’s legit.

Rev in Tampa

March 8th, 2012
2:55 pm

mike

March 8th, 2012
2:57 pm

I never have really looked at Josh’s season averages till MC posted them in the story.. wow.. what a season this guy is having.. I think if Josh reduced his outside shot selection he will be a much richer man very soon

VP

March 8th, 2012
2:58 pm

get brook lopez and 1st round from NJ

Boom Dizzle

March 8th, 2012
2:59 pm

B/c this is MC reporting it and he doesn’t bring BS to the blogs here….I believe it.

@MC — In your mind, what type of talent could/would Josh Smith bring back??

Rev in Tampa

March 8th, 2012
3:00 pm

I have become a huge Josh fan this year. He is the team leader and the organization better start treating him like it.

VP

March 8th, 2012
3:00 pm

2012
Jeff,
Joe,
1st round pick from NJ (Lottery Pick)
Al Horford
Lopez

James Connah

March 8th, 2012
3:02 pm

He is a talent. All of the salaries are out-of-sight but I think he is worth more $ than Joe Johnson
The trouble is somebody is always willing to pay through the nose for talent and Atlanta won’t be able to keep him.
Nothing much in the AJC about the terrible no-calls in Miami. Real home-cooking. One time JAmes ran over Ivan and Ivan got called for the foul. I thought Drew was going to have a stroke. Inexcusable that the officiating was so one-sided.

O'Brien

March 8th, 2012
3:03 pm

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..

I think this is a knock on Woody and LD (and Tyron Hill). These guys have not done enough to help Josh improve (imo).

Smith, an Atlanta native who has played his entire seven-year career with the Hawks, also would like to play for a franchise he believes is more committed to winning a championship..

I agree with Josh there. The ASG’s goal is not to win a championship. It is to provide an entertaining product while staying under the LT, and making a profit.

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..

That…I don’t agree with. Cut down on the jumpers Josh!

As a conspiracy theory, could it also be that Josh is tired of being in JJ’s shadow, considering the fact that JJ is paid and treated like an A-level superstar (who doesnt deliver enough), when Josh is arguably more talented than him?

CP

March 8th, 2012
3:03 pm

Love Josh. Would hate to see him go, but I agree with him. He takes the criticism to heart and does’nt need to carry the burden of NO SUPPORT from ASG on this crappy franchise. I’d get out if I could too.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 8th, 2012
3:05 pm

Josh does some dumb things but he is the only core player on this team with balls. Trade him for some Pau Gasol or Brook Lopez or whatever, some other “nice guy”, and what little chance this team has of advancing any farther with this core is gone. Joe + Al + Teague + Tradey NoBalls will be more than happy to roll over and die against Miami and Chicago.

If you trade Josh, get an equally good or better player with balls, or KaBoom.

NBA fan

March 8th, 2012
3:05 pm

One way or another you will have to blow up the core in the next year or two because even if they rent Dwight, we all know he isn’t re-signing. He doesn’t even have Atlanta on his “list.”

Can’t disagree with much of what he said but if true it really does sound like whining because Joe gets plenty of blame, like ASG, like Sund, etc. Josh isn’t the only one.

KevinM

March 8th, 2012
3:05 pm

All I can say is if we work hard to move Josh and not Marvin, then there is a lot wrong in this organization. Marvin’s ‘nimbers’ are killing any chance of us adding a frontline player and looking forward, he is a roadblock at that position. He will never be happy sitting the bench, and giving him 30mpg won’t help him either.
Cut bait with Marvin, move Kirk if you can, and let’s go make a run at the playoffs.

And to be honest, I think Josh and Zaza are a better combo than Josh and Al. The reasoning is Josh is needed on the boards. He moves back to the 3, forget our backline defense. Zaza needs help.
With Josh and Zaza, you get a good defensive backline, provided Zaza keeps playing at this level.
Al simply fills a role and we could probably pick up a good SF.

And if we’re only going to play T-Mac in a game here, game there role, any chance we make a run at Brandon Roy? I would like to see how much he could do in a limited role.

Najeh Davenpoop

March 8th, 2012
3:06 pm

I haven’t watched much college basketball this year at all, but if Andre Drummond is everything he’s cracked up to be, I don’t mind trading Josh for the #2 or #3 pick and picking Drummond. Don’t know if Josh has that kind of trade value though.

BigShotBob

March 8th, 2012
3:06 pm

Please make any trade that involves Smith also include part of Joe Johnson’s contract or Marvin Williams. Joe deserves less and we deserve to be rid of Marvin

Section 303

March 8th, 2012
3:06 pm

Something tells me the Hawks will be the biggest loser in all of this.

If Josh does really want to leave, the Hawks do not have to rush into anything right now. Although, I really like Monta Ellis, if the Hawks are talking to Golden State. Not sure how he fits with the Hawks, however. Do you move Joe to the 3 spot, then? Put Teague, Ellis, and Joe on the floor together?

Shame….I was thinking last night that Josh is just rolling, with no Joe or Al. He seems to like being “the guy”. If he does really want to leave, I will give him credit for still playing hard.

j

March 8th, 2012
3:06 pm

The Truth

March 8th, 2012
3:08 pm

“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 who might that be, MC?

ntrigue

March 8th, 2012
3:11 pm

Hawks better do something fast if you lose Josh than its over! Better keep him happy trade Joe and bring in Monta and Biedrens ASAP…. Hate to say it but if Josh leaves I don’t want to see this nonexciting team play and i definitly will not be in attendance unless you’re able to get equal talent for Josh!

NBA fan

March 8th, 2012
3:14 pm

Hawks almost got the #2 overall pick from Minnesota last summer for Josh. I’d imagine that his value is much higher now than it was back then.

Michael Cunningham

March 8th, 2012
3:18 pm

@Boom Dizzle: “@MC — In your mind, what type of talent could/would Josh Smith bring back??”

not sure of the “could/would.” i think it “should” be someone better than Monta, that’s for sure.

CrαZy

March 8th, 2012
3:18 pm

Without Josh we’ll get 100 dropped on us every night. If we trade Josh we have to get a True 5 that can play D and score, but there’s not many of those. Josh is the LAST player I’d trade off this team, but a upset Josh isn’t going to help the team. I wish our incompetent owners would sell the team so we can get players to want to be in Atlanta!!!!

Michael Cunningham

March 8th, 2012
3:19 pm

@The Truth: “And who might that be, MC?”

i could tell you, but then i’d have to kill you.

Time

March 8th, 2012
3:19 pm

I’d like to thank the pathetic Atlanta Hawks “fanbase”, and more directly, the disgustingly pathetic AJC columnist for yet again running a guy who should be a hero in this town out of here. Josh Smith should have gotten respect and love in his hometown. But no, you little female dogs whined and moaned and piled it all on him until you got your little crying BABY ways. Hope your happy with the Danny Manning we’re going to get in return now. GTH

Michael Cunningham

March 8th, 2012
3:20 pm

@NBA fan: “Hawks almost got the #2 overall pick from Minnesota last summer for Josh.”

people in the know, and who more importantly have never lied to me, swear that’s not true. but maybe they lied to me that time.

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KevinM

March 8th, 2012
3:21 pm

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.

I think its time they consider moving Josh because it doesn’t sound like any chance he will resign a new deal going forward. His stock is high right now, and you have to at least see what you can get for him.
He is in the shadow of Joe and Al and will never be the centerpiece here.

What is he worth? The problem is PF is the easiest position to fill in the NBA. His value as a non all-star won’t give you back what he does for this team. Who would LD throw into the lineup immediately?

I say look and see what OKC can do for you…..Maynor, Harden and Collison? Maynor doesn’t help this year, but could be a good piece next year.

Grandad

March 8th, 2012
3:22 pm

I`m not one to take up for Josh;
-but-
In this case;
*’`the organization is not commited to winning`’*
the young fella` won me over with that remark right there.

I`ve never doubted Josh`s competitiveness;
only his knuckleheadedness which would outweigh all his assets.

Here lately though;
I`ve decided, keep Josh; but Joe must Go !

Oh Yeah;
let`s get us a Winning Organization & develop a Winning Culture !

ntrigue

March 8th, 2012
3:22 pm

Mc
What about Joe for Monta Ellis any truth to that?

ccarking

March 8th, 2012
3:23 pm

I know for a fact Josh has NEVER asked for a trade nor is he asking for one now. This could be smokescreeen from the hawks to divert attention from something else that could be in the works.i read these blogs daily but never choose to post however i could not stand quiet on this post.I am blessed to call Josh and his entire family close personal friends as well as being a season ticket holder for 6 plus years. I spoke directly with Josh on this matter and your sources are incorrect.My intent is not to disrepect your blog or your reporting ,it is only to clarify that MY sources ie Josh say no trade has been asked for. He would love to retire a Hawk and is very active in so may good causes in the atlanta area ,just recently assisting me with a local child program.Now would he like a max contract when his times comes, im sure like any of us would. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and again MC i mean no disrespect we are huge fans of yours

prison mike

March 8th, 2012
3:24 pm

“according to people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.”

Unless Wojo reported this, I’m inclined to think more rumors. Josh probably is irked with teammates like Duck, Hinpoor, and lesser extent Joe who payscale far exceeds production.

We are talking about 34 million a year for three bums that are far past their prime.

Mr Mojo

March 8th, 2012
3:25 pm

Any reports when I hear people with knowledge of his thinking is usually false. So I take this article with a grain of salt. Until I hear it out of Josh’s mouth I dont beleive it. And regardless the Hawks are not going to trade him now anyway so on to the next article.

CrαZy

March 8th, 2012
3:26 pm

Joe Makes 18 million and Ellis make 11 more players would have to be involved.

Michael Cunningham

March 8th, 2012
3:27 pm

@cccarking: “MC i mean no disrespect we are huge fans of yours”

none taken, and thanks for the compliment, but this info is solid. if you know my track record i’m fairly conservative and cautious about reporting stuff like this.

ignition

March 8th, 2012
3:28 pm

I can’t even be mad at Josh for wanting to be traded..
I don’t trust Sund and the idiot lot of Ownership to rebuild the team properly..
Sucks being a Hawks fan… Absolutely Sucks..

KevinM

March 8th, 2012
3:29 pm

ccarking, please continue to post as I would like to hear more going forward once all this plays out.
No going forward, say Josh is only looking for a max deal, I think you either move Josh or Joe because you won’t be keeping both of them.

Michael Cunningham

March 8th, 2012
3:29 pm

@ntrigue:”Mc What about Joe for Monta Ellis any truth to that?”

what i know is GS offered Monta for Josh, Hawks said no. and then a SF Chron report implied that the Hawks said “you can have Joe instead” and GS said no, but i’m not sure if that part is true.

The Truth

March 8th, 2012
3:31 pm

“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.”

No doubt Josh’s agent is polluting his mind. If the Hawks were a lottery team I could support Josh’s concern but since they still are playoff bound despite the injuries, I called this selfish. For him or his agent to blame the Hawks organization for his all-star shortcoming is asinine. They named him co-captain; makes him a focal point of the offense (with 40% of the touches with JJ on the court) and one of the faces of the franchise. So now he is discontent and mad at the organization because the other coaches didn’t pick him as an all-star. He plays well for 3 games and now he thinks he’s LBJ.

The Hawks shouldn’t trade him now but next years to balance out the roster, this maybe exactly be a blessing in disguise.

Grandad

March 8th, 2012
3:31 pm

From this morning’s discussion:

We were in a zone when Wade threw the lob for the dunk.
-yes-
Vlad had [back-side low] coverage,
and yes he cheated too far into the middle
-but-
anyone cannot say he cost us the game.
-nor-
Can someone say he is a poor defender due to that one play.

I repeat:
* The Hawks were in a Zone !

KevinM

March 8th, 2012
3:31 pm

What I do think is Golden State does need to make a splash and get themselves a closer to elite player. Behind the scenes, Ellis might be more to deal with than this organization wants to deal with.
I don’t really see anything outside of Udoh that interests me, because we aren’t getting Curry.

Bellefay

March 8th, 2012
3:32 pm

Is there any way possible we can include the Spirit Group with Josh for some kind of package deal?

Mr Mojo

March 8th, 2012
3:32 pm

They are not trading Josh this year. We already have Horford out for the year and no other frontcourt Shot blockers. I will tell you though I wouldn’t blame him the fanbase and media in Atlanta is one of the worst in sports. You guys been runnning him out of town for years. Josh should be a Hawk for life. But like I said there are 100 rumors a day all over sports and 99% of them never even happen.

Khao$

March 8th, 2012
3:33 pm

I’ve been hard on Josh for his lack of BBall IQ. However…I can’t complain about his logic on some of this. 1) He has been criticized more than other teammates who’s contracts (Joe) and/or draft selection (Marvin) should deem they should be more productive. 2) This team hasn’t shown the commitment towards winning a championship. 3) I don’t believe he’s received the coaching that would take his talents to the next level. Woody? LD? I agree wholeheartedly with Stackhouse. He’ll go to another team and they’ll get the most out of him. Let a Greg Pop, Doc Rivers, Rick Alderman, Stan Van Gundy, or even Mike D’Antoni get their hands on him. True, these coaches don’t come a dime a dozen. However, history has proven the Hawks go cheap when it comes to coaches.

Josh has his flaws. However, he’s right. He’s been the whipping boy of this team. At times, deservedly. However, I don’t believe that other teammates have been treated like him when they dribble the clock down to 23.9 seconds every position in the fourth or fails to go strong towards the basket.

My only hope is that the Hawks gets comparable talent(s) back in exchange for him. Otherwise, he’s gone.

CrαZy

March 8th, 2012
3:34 pm

ignition…
I watch every game and pull for them to play well and hope to see us win, but you’re right it sucks to be a fan of a team that players just don’t want to play for. ATL could be a NBA town if we didn’t have the group of jack offs we have behind the controls. I think our window is closing with this group and we didn’t even get as much out of them as we did with the late 90’s Steve Smith teams.

kuhndog

March 8th, 2012
3:35 pm

I like to read these posts but I usually don’t comment.I looked at smooves nimbers at the break and he is in the top 20 in alot of them.power forwards he is in top 5 he should have made the all star game (nothing but associates) I dont like his complaining but he is the heart and soul of this team and I believe home grown talent plays better at home.Marvin has to go +hinrich and we are playing better with out Joe trade him too.I have followed the Hawks for 30 years I aws at the game in the Omni when Mchale hit the phatom 3 to send game 6 into OT and won ,then won game 7.I love this team but you gotta go over the cap to compete with Mia. Chic. do it,shoot get JC1 back from portland there going nowhere

Boom Dizzle

March 8th, 2012
3:35 pm

If Hawks were to trade Josh Smith for Monta Ellis, they should just close up shop.

Heisenberg

March 8th, 2012
3:36 pm

I recently saw (I believe in SI.com T&R) that Golden State had inquired about Joe Johnson. I am not a Joe hater, but if someone else wants that contract for Monta Ellis I would make that deal now.

As for Josh, Hawks can handle that the way Utah did with D Williams or they can handle it the way Denver did with C Anthony. I like Josh but I would move him for the right deal.

Mr Mojo

March 8th, 2012
3:37 pm

Maybe if Ownership would go over the Luxury Tax and add pieces to try to win they would have a better chance. The franchise is where it is because they don’t have owners who want to win. Look no further than those 8 dumbells. I live in NY and love the Hawks for almost 30 years but man it is frustrating being a fan of a team with such bad ownership.