Josh Smith is one of the NBA’s more fascinating young players. He has all the talent in the world, boasts a decent amount of skill and should probably be considered one of the game’s premier stars. But he isn’t. He's an ultra-athletic, moderately capable non-max player who thinks he deserves a max contract. That is why the Atlanta Hawks are reluctant to give him what he wants, and that is why all conversations regarding them possibly giving him a sizable deal start and end with his ability to lure Dwight Howard out of Los Angeles.
Here is everything you need to know Smith’s capacity for growth as a player: since 2006-07 his points per game has never risen or fallen by more than three points, and he has had only one season in which he shot 50 percent from the field. Zero growth. Zero development. What you see is what you get with this guy.
All of that being said, with Pau Gasol injured, Smith has officially moved into the driver’s seat as the biggest name who may get traded before the looming deadline. It’s not a lock that the Hawks will move him, of course, but odds are at least 50-50. Among the interested parties? The Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and more.
Here is the latest on the Josh Smith rumors front:
"The Brooklyn Nets are aggressively pursuing a trade for Atlanta Hawks star forward Josh Smith, league sources told ESPN...The Nets are willing to give up Humphries and second-year shooting guard MarShon Brooks for Smith. But it almost certainly will take more than a Humphries-Brooks combination to pry Smith away from Atlanta, and one source said the Hawks want Brooklyn's first-round pick." [ESPN]
"The Pistons have been linked to Hawks forward Josh Smith and Bobcats shooting guard Gerald Henderson; both are expected to be offseason targets of the Pistons, especially with so much cap space to play with." [HoopsWorld]
"The Suns are pursuing Josh Smith, according to multiple league sources. Phoenix will try to acquire Smith before the deadline or, if that fails, through a sign-and-trade deal next offseason." [HoopsWorld]
"All indications are that the Mavericks are not among the teams bidding on Josh Smith after the Hawks put the versatile forward on the trade block." [ESPN]
Smith is a third option on a good team, second option on a mediocre one. Here is to hoping he lands on the Nets where he can be surrounded with talented pieces that’ll mask some of his massive weaknesses.