First, a disclaimer: The Hawks aren’t apt to trade anybody this summer unless it’s Marvin Williams (or Josh Childress) as part of a restricted-free-agent sign-and-trade. But the matter of dealing either Joe Johnson or Josh Smith keeps arising, and Ian Thomsen of SI.com addressed it in his Mailbag last week.
Thomsen argues that, of the two, Smith should be the one to go. First, because Johnson will be a free agent next summer and therefore wouldn’t elicit full value. Then this: “Smith is an upside talent who may yet mature to become an All-Star. He isn’t there yet, while Johnson is the bird in the hand. It wouldn’t make sense to trade a 27-year-old All-Star at his peak because such reliable talent is extremely hard to find.”
A word about Mr. Thomsen: He’s a really good guy and a really fine writer, and he’s among the very few in our industry who are taller than I am. (I believe Ian is 6-foot-6.) But I’ll disagree with him on this one. I wouldn’t trade either, but I’d trade