NBA Trade Rumors: Atlanta Hawks Must Flip Josh Smith for Lottery Pick

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 29:  Kevin Garnett #9 of the Boston Celtics defends a drive by Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2012 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The Hawks won 83-74. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Josh Smith is a malcontent, and the Hawks would be wise to part ways with the $13.2 million they owe him next year. 

According to Sam Amico of foxsportsohio.com, the Hawks may consider using Smith to move into the NBA Draft lottery.

The Hawks are said to be one team placing calls to improve their draft position. They currently own the No. 23 pick. One GM said the Hawks floated the names of both Josh Smith and Marvin Williams as potential trade chips.

Trading Smith as he enters the final year of his contract is the ticket if you are the Hawks. He is an extremely talented, but polarizing, player. 

Atlanta seems to knock on the Eastern Conference's door every year, but they can't seem to get over the hump. Parting ways with Smith's lackadaisical attitude will benefit the team in the long run.

Let's look at two teams that should consider making the move for Smith in exchange for their lottery selection.

 

Golden State Warriors

Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News doesn't believe the Warriors will move the No. 7 pick: 

Though they have explored many options, the Warriors are unlikely to trade the pick, according to several league sources. General manager Bob Myers and his staff have looked around for an established small forward, a move up to the second overall pick or possibly a move down to the middle of the round.

But if Smith and the No. 23 pick were put on the table, the Warriors may be willing to listen.

Smith would fit the Warriors' needs on the wing, and the Hawks would have a chance to start fresh. At No. 7, several quality players should be available. 

Harrison Barnes could slip through the cracks, although it's doubtful. Barnes would give the Hawks a much needed, high-character player on the wing. He doesn't have Smith's exact skill set, but he is more disciplined and a better shooter. 

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  Brandon Triche #20 of the Syracuse Orange goes to the hoop against Alex Oriakhi #34 and Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden o
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Also, the Hawks could look at Andre Drummond if he falls. Drummond would give the Hawks a center with tremendous upside, and they could use a player like him with Al Horford's questionable health.

Golden State would benefit from staying put, but the Hawks could make an intriguing offer. A deal would be a good idea for both teams.

 

Houston Rockets

I think the Rockets will stay put at Nos. 14 and 16, but Smith would be intriguing.

He would add a totally different dimension than Luis Scola at power forward, and he's flat out better than Chandler Parsons at small forward. 

Houston doesn't have any tremendous needs. Moving back to No. 23 wouldn't be a death knell for their NBA Draft haul. 

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Terrence Jones #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates against the Baylor Bears in the first half during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Final at the Georgia Dome on March 25, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevi
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Hawks could target Tyler Zeller or Meyers Leonard with either pick. Both would add the same depth as the aforementioned Drummond, and both have high motors. 

Atlanta could also scoop up Terrence Jones or Perry Jones III here. These two are very similar to Smith (in negative ways too), but both are very talented. Atlanta would enjoy the upside both players present. 

The bottom line is the Hawks have options. If they don't want Smith, I'm sure a suitor is out there.

Lottery picks will be available, and the Hawks should take the plunge.