Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith to Lakers for Pau Gasol Is Just Not Going to Happen

Argun UlgenAnalyst IJune 27, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 08:  Forward Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks retrieves an errant pass during Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the NBA Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Philips Arena on May 8, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

The NBA trade rumor mill is in full grist. 

If you're a sports writer looking for an angle, your head is spinning faster than the mill itself; every five minutes a new trade scenario is thrown out there.  The majority of them are absurd jaw-droppers that serve as hot-copy for a couple of hours then fade away.  

One trade that seems palpable and sexy is the Atlanta Hawk's Josh Smith and their #23 draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Pau Gasol (via The Los Angeles Times).

On paper, the trade seems plausible.

The Lakers would get Smith, an 18 ppg / 10 rpg small-forward, in return for the 7'0" Gasol, a 17 ppg / 10 rpg power forward.  Smith was reportedly unhappy in Atlanta last year, and the Lakers already have another seven-footer in center Andrew Bynum.

Smith can provide the Lakers with tenacious defense and athleticism.  Gasol would give Atlanta Hawks' center Al Hortford a complementary twin tower. 

Sounds simple right? 

Wrong.

This trade is never going to happen.  Pau Gasol's remaining two-year contract at $19 million a year would put the Atlanta Hawks about five million over the salary cap for the next two years. 

As it stands, the Hawks only have six players with guaranteed contracts on its roster next year.  That means, unless they want to play "Hoosiers" style ball, the Hawks will need to cut corners and spend what little money they have to build a bench. 

 

The Hawks won't overspend on Gasol who, at 31 years-old, is starting to show wear and tear, if not disinterest in the game.  In the 2012 playoffs, Gasol's output: 12.5 ppg / 9.5 rpg, is disheartening when accompanied by a $19 million price tag. 

The Lakers would love to have the 26-year-old Josh Smith, who with the right veteran guidance (Kobe Bryant), could become the second best small-forward in the game behind Lebron James.   

But that's just another Hollywood dream. It's not happening. 

Back to the grist, trade-rumor mill continues....