The volume on the Josh Smith trade rumors has been cranked up to 11 — “Spinal Tap” joke — and somebody needs to dial it down. I nominate … myself.
It has been reported that the Hawks are gauging interest in Smith ahead of tonight’s NBA draft, which only makes sense. It has also been reported that Smith wants out of Atlanta, which I’m not sure is the case, and has even submitted a list of teams he wouldn’t mind joining. (The list, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, includes Boston, Houston, Orlando and New Jersey.)
Smoove-related speculation has been running the highest in Orlando, where Smith’s best friend (meaning Dwight Howard) plays, and Boston. Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that discussions between the Hawks and the Magic are “totally legit.” But now we ask: Other than Howard himself, who among Magic men would the Hawks want?
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel notes that, not counting Howard, Orlando really has only “four tradable assets” — Jameer Nelson, Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson and J.J. Redick. If the Hawks trade Smith for any combination of those, Rick Sund is nuts. And whatever else you might think of the Hawks’ general manager, he gives the impression of being a pillar of sanity.
And there’s no way the Magic are trying to deal Howard for Smith. It’s way too early for that. At this stage Orlando GM Otis Smith is seeking to assuage his big man’s doubts that his team is serious about winning a title, and what better way to placate Howard than to add his old Atlanta Celtics wingman?
As for Boston: A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE reports that the Celtics have had “no discussions” with the Hawks. Again, it’s hard to find a trade match for Smith on that roster. Kevin Garnett is scheduled to make $21 million next season, or roughly $9 million more than Smith will. As Blakely writes, Ray Allen is only under contract for one more year at $10 million and might be seen as a replacement for Jamal Crawford, who’s apt to leave as a free agent. But do you want to swap a 25-year-old power forward for a 35-year-old shooting guard?
The belief here is that the Hawks will have a tougher time than many think finding a trade match for Smith. He’s far too gifted to give away, but his excesses have become so well known that a good team isn’t apt to disrupt its rotation to make room for him.
This isn’t to say a trade can’t happen. It very well could. (It has been suggested that a third team might be needed to make a deal with the Magic work.) I’d be surprised if it happens today or this month, though.
By Mark Bradley