Hawks don’t see trade deadline as Josh Smith deadline

Josh Smith would be an asset for any team at both ends of the court, but Hawks don't seem likely to comply with his trade request. (Sacramento Bee photo)

Josh Smith could help any contender, but it's not likely the Hawks will comply with his trade request. (Sacramento Bee photo)

Teams generally fall into one of three categories at the trade deadline: 1) buyers; 2) sellers; or 3) “Wait, there’s a trade deadline? That’s today?”

The difficulty in categorizing the Hawks as we approach Thursday’s NBA trade deadline is that it really doesn’t matter how they view themselves because they have only one player of significance that other teams want — and he’s probably not available.

Josh Smith wants out. That was reaffirmed publicly recently, even if behind the scenes it wasn’t news. He has wanted out all season.

The only thing that really has changed is why Smith wants out. Before, he wasn’t happy that he was viewed as the weak support beam seemingly every time the Hawks crumbled. Now it’s more about needing a new start, wanting to play for a true title contender, his perceptions of the way the Hawks have dealt with him in negotiations (contrasting with teammates), a general lack of appreciation.

Here’s the Hawks’ dilemma: Those no-no-Josh-don’t-do-that moments are few and far between now. His game has matured. His head has matured. He has morphed, dare we suggest, into the team’s strongest support beam. He’s playing three different positions for the Hawks, who are 24-17 despite playing without Al Horford for most of the entire season, Joe Johnson for six games, Kirk Hinrich for 18. (Smith and Jeff Teague are the team’s only two players who’ve played in every game.)

So what kind of message would it send if the Hawks dealt their best and most popular player six weeks before the playoffs? And do you really want to see Smith, an Atlanta kid, go elsewhere right now and see him potentially flourish with a title contender?

Options are limited for Rick Sund and coach Larry Drew. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

General manager Rick Sund and coach Larry Drew have few options with the team's roster. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

There’s little reason to believe Smith will re-sign with the Hawks at the end of his contract. But he has a year remaining on his deal. So the Hawks know they can always trade him after the season when more teams are willing to restructure their rosters (and payroll).

If the door to Smith is closed, there’s little motivation for other general managers to phone Hawks general manager Rick Sund right now.

Sund acknowledged Tuesday he is having “ongoing discussions” with other teams. Not surprisingly, he didn’t get specific (”I never publicly discuss teams or players”) or context (”It’s a great time to have dialogue, even if it’s for something you might do [after the season].”)

If there’s no player other teams want or can get, there’s no possibility for the Hawks to make a trade of significance. Consider their non-Smith assets:

• Johnson: He should be the Hawks’ best player, but he’s viewed mostly as an anchor on the payroll. Contenders would love him as a second scoring option, but no other team would be willing to take on his contract. Remainder after this season: four years, $89.2 million. Honest.

• Horford: Even being undersized and with flaws in his game on offense, Horford is a great piece, and the Hawks figured to take a dip without him. Other teams would love him — but not injured. Any trade for next season can be made after this one.

• Marvin Williams: He has first-string talent and a second-string heart. Then there’s his contract: two more years totaling $15.7 million. (Technically, the second year is a player option, but Williams isn’t dumb — he’ll trigger it).

• Teague, Hinrich, Zaza Pachulia: All are serviceable players. But the Hawks wouldn’t get a difference-maker in return for any of them.

That’s it. The Hawks are stuck.

Given Smith’s play this season and the level of resiliency the team has shown despite injuries, the Hawks would’ve been an interesting team to watch in the playoffs at full strength. But they’re not built for greatness now and, Smith’s pleas notwithstanding, an earth-shaking deal from Sund isn’t likely.

The Hawks don’t feel any pressure to move their best player right now. This week’s deadline is not their deadline.

By Jeff Schultz

66 comments Add your comment

chris1284

March 13th, 2012
4:38 pm

I LOVE YOU JOSH

March 13th, 2012
4:39 pm

Ill always love you, Josh. I’m sorry my fellow Atlantans and the ASG ran you off. But know you’ll alwats be my favorite baller. Like that time you threw Paul Delaneys dunk into the stands at Whitefield in ninth grade.

Go to Hell, ASG.

chris1284

March 13th, 2012
4:40 pm

Couldn’t we make a play for Bogut or Kaman?

Joe Johnson Quit On His Team Because He Know He Sucks

March 13th, 2012
4:43 pm

Id love to see josh in a laker uniform

Joe Johnson Quit On His Team Because He Know He Sucks

March 13th, 2012
4:43 pm

Id love to see josh in a laker uniform

Big Crimson 75

March 13th, 2012
4:47 pm

JJ = Amnesty.

The Rule was put in place for the guy!!

PMC

March 13th, 2012
4:57 pm

Josh remains the most interesting/watchable member of the Atlanta Hawks. If they trade Josh, what is the reason to even step foot in the arena?

PMC

March 13th, 2012
4:58 pm

Still rubbing my head as to how Marvin Williams got CONTRACT 1. Dude is on contract 2??????

Lot of money on garbage.

Jeff Schultz

March 13th, 2012
4:59 pm

Big Crimson 75 — The “amnesty” rule is a tool for salary cap relief. But the team still has to pay the balance of the contract. Can you honestly see any ownership group paying that much money just to get a player off the books? It won’t happen, at least not now.

coachx

March 13th, 2012
5:00 pm

There is still plenty of love for J-Smoove in the ATL.

tim

March 13th, 2012
5:05 pm

Fire J Smith…………..

Bring back Jon Konkak

Sol

March 13th, 2012
5:06 pm

Best time to trade Josh while his stock is high, he wants out of Atlanta and he will do that as a free agent, so why wait? Hawks have a power forward already, package him with Kirk and get a small forward and center.

Another GM

March 13th, 2012
5:12 pm

Hawks fans it is a sad situation with your GM and ownership. They are both equally enept. Sund has never done anything in his career and the ASG, well you all know the story there. Truth be known the Hawks could get D12, but they dont want to pay. The ASG is perfectly happy sitting in the position of getting into the playoffs. This group will last another couple of years and then the walls will cave in.

KevinM

March 13th, 2012
5:13 pm

There is no one who can honestly blame Josh for wanting to move on and play for a ‘championship’ contender. We are a pretender, as Sund and the ASG have ingrained that position into the fanbase.
The ‘We will exceed the cap if that is what it takes to get the right player’….what a broad stroke the ASG has learned to paint.
They have the lowest paid HC in LD, and they have a GM on his last stop in the league after 32 years. Wouldn’t you think after 32 years, Sund would have no problem bringing in talent? His imprint on this team goes back to Jeff Teague, the guy in the last 2 coaches’ doghouse.
How much more do we need to know than Sund stating he doesn’t publicly acknowledge anything?
This organization continues to keep a the fanbase at a distance while they muddle around wasting what talent is here. With Al out all year, what has Sund done? Signed unemployed Erik Dampier, who has gotten a total of 61 minutes in 10 games…..Al has 5 times that many minutes and he has been out since Game 11?
Excellent strategic move, and even Jason Collins is out and nothing….no hope to help Zaza.

The ASG blows smoke to the fanbase while other teams pass us by. Last year’s playoff slot: 5. This year: 6 as of today.

And as the radio home of the Hawks states: The Hawks know something about being middle of the road.

Bob

March 13th, 2012
5:13 pm

Don’t you think all the pieces are in place for a total change? Ownership, players, coach, and attitude.

Jamaaliver

March 13th, 2012
5:14 pm

I honestly feel like there is no hope going forward. We’re destined for mediocrity as currently constructed. I don’t trust the ASG to upgrade at Head Coach this summer or to draft wsly in the near future.

We’re destined to be a 5th, 6th or 7th seed until the day JJ leaves our team.

Bob

March 13th, 2012
5:19 pm

…and a move out of town.

KevinM

March 13th, 2012
5:25 pm

To be on the appreciative side of things, the Hawks are trying to become only 1 of 3 teams to make it to the 2nd round of the playoffs for 4 consecutive years.
They can’t go on the ‘we have improved every year since we rebuilt this thing’ theme. That one is gone.

Yes, I can see why this franchise has never been to the Eastern Conference Finals. They have let Chicago and Miami pass them by and they still look up to Orlando.

Any media members project the Hawks to finish in the Top 4 this year in the East ‘with’ Al Horford? The Hawks as I recall weren’t mentioned in ANY preseason projections. The ASG is still probably blaming the local media.

MannyT

March 13th, 2012
5:26 pm

Josh wants out. Hornets want to dump Okafor & are willing to give up one of those sweet lottery picks if someone takes him. He’s not a franchise player, but Okafor fills a long term need at Center. Salaries about the same. Might even get more (e.g. also include Marvin & a desirable Hornet) for a good player like Josh.

http://www.iamagm.com/news/2012/03/11/hornets.willing.trade.first.round.pick.order.get.rid.emeka.okafor

moorman

March 13th, 2012
5:28 pm

really, what else can be said????????

Daily Stinger

March 13th, 2012
5:33 pm

Kevin M is exactly right. Take advantage of Smith’s high value and focus on finding a big man who can play a little defense (Pachulia is a joke). Leave it to the Hawks to sign Dampier even after the Hornets clearly wanted nothing to do with Kaman and put him on the block a month or so ago (before his recent production).

Howard

March 13th, 2012
5:49 pm

I would like to be a Hawks fan but……I could deal with almost every mistake they made except signing Joe Johnson to that big contract. Basically that killed us until his contract runs out. Trade the rest of the good players (Josh, Al, and Teague for future draft picks five years from now. Have a lousy last place team that no one goes to see and hope the Owners finally sell….to anybody. What a disaster. Good think baseball is starting.
By the way has anyone noticed that the Winnipeg Jets are in first place. Way to go Spirit.

Joseph

March 13th, 2012
6:15 pm

We love Josh Smith. He is the only one that brings excitement to the table. Lets build a team around HIM.

Mike

March 13th, 2012
6:15 pm

Okay Jeff, time for a curveball question

Let say in the next couple of days that D12 gets traded(its looked like its going to happen) do you think that Hawks have to make a deal because even if he isnt in the same conference, but next year you will have to deal with him in Jersey with Williams and otherand that will knock the Hawks down futher the Eastern ladder with Heat, Bulls, Nets, and others.

DogStyle

March 13th, 2012
6:40 pm

How can a city as vibrant and diverse as Atlanta consistently have such poor professional sports teams? We are Hawks season ticket holders. It is very difficult to each year to fork over that much money, but we love and support our team. If they trade Josh, or allow him to leave through free agency, after 17 seasons of buying season tickets, we’re gone for good.

DogStyle

March 13th, 2012
6:42 pm

In the meantime, we get great enjoyment watching Derek Rose and the Bulls play. What an exciting young team.

STRETCH

March 13th, 2012
6:56 pm

So Sund says, “what we need is for this team to get healthy.” What, are you serious?? Get healthy so they can get beat down in the 2nd round for the fourth year in a row?

They remind me of the Kevin Garnett Timberwolves some years ago. Rick Sund go away please!

Atl Chris

March 13th, 2012
7:08 pm

JOSH IS THE ONLY REASON I LOOK FORWARD TO WATCHING THE GAMES. Teague has definitely started to grow on me. The more we let him play the better he looks. Lets face it; we are stuck with joes salary but it is not bad having him on our team. we just hate what ASG paid him. Joe should now be Josh’s complimental peice. That is why Josh is so mad. Josh knows he is the man and that he can never make the money he should while joe is making what he does. All that we can hope is that the coach and sund can come up with a new plans for the offense with josh at the front, and then work out a contract with Josh that will make him happy enough to stay.

MARK MY WORDS: JOSH WILL TURN INTO EVERYTHING WE EVER HOPED HE COULD BE SOME PLACE ELSE IF WE LET HIM GO.

Troy

March 13th, 2012
7:19 pm

I’d love to see Josh Smith next year with the Brooklyn Nets playing with Deron Williams and Dwight Howard.

dmr

March 13th, 2012
7:47 pm

Allow Josh to go. Josh grew up and good for him. The way he has been handled is a poor reflection on Hawk’s management; IF YOU CAN CALL IT THAT! Michael Gearon, Jr., the mouthpiece of a group that resembles Gingivitis, has repeatedly told fans how “they don’t understand how ownership works in the NBA.” and basically called them stupid.

Well here we go. The Hawks aren’t built to win a title!

tyler

March 13th, 2012
9:03 pm

Jeff, I’m very confused about your description of Marvin Williams as 1st string talent. Nice kid, but one of the worst players in the NBA in my opinion.

Jeff Schultz

March 13th, 2012
9:05 pm

Mike — I think the Hawks will have to do something of significance this offseason but I don’t believe that will affect their mindset at the deadline.

Jeff Schultz

March 13th, 2012
9:07 pm

Tyler — Athletic skills aren’t the issue with Marvin. It’s the reason not just the Hawks but every NBA team projected as such an early draft picks. What has prevented him from becoming a great player is heart, desire, etc.

tyler

March 13th, 2012
9:12 pm

As for Josh Smith, let him go, the Hawks are an absolute joke of a franchise going nowhere. Was a Hawks fan for 30 years, but the Billy Knight era and the moronic Atlanta Ghost ownership group were just to much for me. It’s kind of nice to not care if I woke up tomorrow and the Hawks had been sold and moved to an ownership group in Beijing.

Just read the article because I always liked watching the hometown kid Josh Smith play. Trade him away already you perrenial losers. How any person in this city could give this team one dime of their money is totally beyond me at this point.

Peter Moylan

March 13th, 2012
9:23 pm

Josh Smith is a loser. He is the worst jump shooter in the NBA yet he continues to take 10 jump shots a game. He’s heading towards sub 50% free throw shooting. Send him and his bad attitude to another city where he will flop. He can beat up on the creampuffs but disappears in big games. No contender wants him.

Vol4ever

March 13th, 2012
9:26 pm

Jeff – The offseason is too late;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;Hell, they aint gonna do nothing at the deadline or the offseason. What a bunch of clowns!

A Father

March 13th, 2012
9:49 pm

Shutlz, please take over the coverage of UGA sports.

Jim

March 13th, 2012
10:02 pm

Hawks— hang in there with what you have—please get rid of Williams at any cost and keep everyone else for 1 more year–Zaza looks pretty good–get another big man for defense / rebounding and roll the dice. Smith could be elite status with real coach—add Horford/Johnson/Teague/Zaza and you might be really good

GT Alum

March 13th, 2012
10:10 pm

Can we trade Sund and ASG and keep Smoove?

Rick James

March 13th, 2012
10:45 pm

Trade Josh Smith with this team in its current state and there is no reason to watch the Hawks.It has to be difficult with his ego playing nightly with Joe Johnson knowning that he makes twice as much money.But nothing is worst than having a player who wants out.Yet its amazing how his game has changed for the better now that he wants to be traded.Maybe he will also realize that the reason he wasnt chosen for the all star team was his bad reputation and not because the Hawks didnt push for him.

Rick James

March 13th, 2012
10:47 pm

Trade Josh and there are zero reasons to watch the Hawks..

Nathan

March 13th, 2012
11:05 pm

Here are three ideas the Hawks should try. 1) Trade Josh smith and Marvin Willams for Hedo Turkgolu and Ryan Anderson it makes the team just as athletic and taller and ryan anderson is younger. 2) Trade Josh Smith and Kirk Hinrich for Andrew Bynum, lakers need a PG and athlecism. Bynum and horford in post scary. 3) Josh smith for Amare stoudamire or Tyson Chandler.

tree rollins

March 14th, 2012
12:16 am

I’m only gonna call Rick Sund one last time to help this team – if he passes this time forget it! I don’t need these losers. Josh Smith is good but he needs a center to watch his back.

True Atlanta Sports Fan

March 14th, 2012
12:54 am

Screw the ASG and screw all the terrible fans in this city. As much as I love Joe we never should have resigned him. We cudda got Dwight if upheld his trade demands, but now theres no way were getting him in free agency unless some miraculous sign and trade happens. I always wanted to see J Smoove and D12 play together for their hometown in a Hawks uniform.

falCANS

March 14th, 2012
1:59 am

WOOOOW!! I read this blog EVERY Day. Ive never seen so many “we love Josh ” post. Dont cry now yall I said it all season that yll fake fans would run the home town kid off. Smh

New Orleans 'Inhales'

March 14th, 2012
5:39 am

If only that sale to that California dude went through. Maybe the reason they ’sold’ it to him in the first place was because they must have known he didn’t have the werewithal TO own it and they’d keep it anyway. But what do i know?

Bill

March 14th, 2012
7:24 am

ASG will somehow figure a way to screw this up in the worst possible way.There was an opportunity to let Johnson walk instead of hanging that contract on the Hawks.The Hawks chose the easy path.Now they are burdened with the fact that they will not be relevant until Johnson’s contract expires in 4 years.

Trading Josh will not help much because the Hawks can’t afford much.

chuckw/deadjournalist

March 14th, 2012
8:45 am

We all love playing the “what-if” game, but one of those deals that makes so much sense that it will never happen: JJ to the Knicks, D. Howard to Atl, Carmelo to Orlando (with a Landry Fields to Atl as well). Everything about the deal would work for everyone.

Atl: Huge risk bringing in Dwight, but at the least, it would be one helluva run and Atlanta would clear JJ’s salary if Dwight decided opt out. Atlanta would still have Josh/Al as assets to build around or trade while eliminating their biggest financial albatross. And if D. Howard stayed? Imagine the front-line …

NYK: They eliminate their biggest issue in a player that doesn’t fit their system while getting a player that have played in the system, fits their system and they actually gain one year of financial flexibility. JJ in place of Carmelo would make the Knicks much stronger.

Orlando: They get a superstar (at least in name) who is signed long-term. Given that stability they can then build around him … or turnaround and trade him in the off-season. Either way, the team is no longer hamstrung by not knowing. Plus, they stay competitive, and keep butts in the seats. Orlando could be a fun team to watch, if they wanted to play up-tempo.

Again, it makes too much sense to actually happen.

JDawg1785

March 14th, 2012
9:07 am

Sund should go out and, at the very least, show some interest in bringing another quality player to Atlanta. Josh seems to be unhappy with the fact that the Hawks appear to be fine with making the playoffs every year and losing in the second round.

Dre Atlanta

March 14th, 2012
9:24 am

They need to get rid of Puchula he play like in highschool…,The Chicago Bulls going to beat Hawks on March 28, 2012 I will be at that game supporting the Bulls and Rose MVP#1…It was no reason the Hawks should have lost that Nuggets game. Puchula was dead wrong for missing that basket my little 5 nephew could I have got that basket.