With Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith entering the final year of his contract and reportedly open to a change of scenery if it means championship contention, new general manager Danny Ferry has little time to find fair market value for the team.
The 26-year-old Smith is a defensive force who is an absolute terror in the offensive open court, but to say he's an enigmatic figure is an understatement.
Since our goal here at B/R is to keep you ahead of the curve on all the latest rumors and buzz, we've created a tracker specifically for Smith and will be updating it with up-to-the-minute news as it breaks.
Update: Wednesday, July 18 — Ethan Norof
Two weeks after first speaking out on the issue, Smith has reiterated his desire to remain in Atlanta.
Smith told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated that he's no longer angling for a trade.
"I think we have a great GM in Danny Ferry, and he has a plan that he's putting together. It looks good. I really am just trying to get to know these guys, to build a relationship and see where the team is going to end up closer to veterans' camp. I'm just excited. We have a lot of elite shooters, and I can see us being a run-and-gun shooting team."
Asked if he still wants to be traded, Smith promptly responded, "No."
That should end the Smith trade rumors for the time being.
Update: Wednesday, July 4 — Ethan Norof
After having a standing trade request for a long time, Smith may be backing off of that stance.
Sources told ESPN's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst that Smith is "excited about the direction (Danny) Ferry has taken things in his brief time in charge," and that has led Smith being intrigued about the possibility of remaining in Atlanta.
However, it's important to note that Smith's contract expires after the 2012-13 season, and there certainly won't be a shortage of interest if Ferry decides to gauge Smith's trade value on the open market.
Update: Monday, July 2 -- Joel C. Cordes
With his name swirling about in trade rumors, Josh Smith is once again voicing his displeasure with the Atlanta Hawks.
At issue is his perception that Atlanta has never reached out to him for a contract extension: They allowed him to become a restricted free agent in 2008 before matching an offer from the Memphis Grizzlies. They also have yet to approach him about his current deal, though they did extend Al Horford's contract already.
This, in addition to scuttlebutt that the Hawks are pushing for a Smith and Pau Gasol trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, has understandably put Smith on edge.
While he believes his time in Atlanta is done, new GM Danny Ferry continues to play it cool, stating that he will meet with Smith, pursue all options, and make the best deal possible.
This was the party line of the previous Hawks regime as well, and it surely does nothing more than add to Josh Smith's frustration and desire to go.
Update: Sunday, July 1 -- Stephen Babb
New general manager Danny Ferry may be scouring the trade market as a principal avenue to upgrade the Atlanta Hawks' roster, but that doesn't mean he's interested in making just any deal that comes along.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Michael Cunningham, Ferry shut down the Los Angeles Lakers' latest attempt to exchange Pau Gasol for the younger Smith:
In addition to Johnson, the Hawks have been open to moving forward Josh Smith though they’ve resisted offers so far. Apparently the Hawks balked at a potential deal with the Lakers forPau Gasol because L.A. wanted another major piece to go along with Smith. That would leave the Hawks with less than six players under contract, less talent, and no short-term cap relief because of the $38 million and two years remaining on Gasol’s contract.
If Atlanta's bottom line is cap flexibility, adding Gasol to the fold probably isn't the best option. With Smith putting together another borderline All-Star campaign last season, the Hawks are unlikely to move the dynamic forward without getting a young, affordable star in return.
Additionally, it's not as though the Lakers are the only game in town.
In any event, discussions involving Smith may not be Ferry's priority at the moment. According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, dealing Joe Johnson and his burdensome contract has become the organization's top priority:
Rival executives say Atlanta is much more focused on moving Joe Johnson's contract than talking about Josh Smith now.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2012
Johnson is set to make nearly $90 million over the next four seasons, while Smith will be a free agent next summer.
It's not hard to see why the Smith talks can wait.
Atlanta balks at Josh Smith Trade Offer From Orlando Magic -- Joel C. Cordes
ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the Hawks have received inquiries from the Orlando Magic about acquiring Josh Smith.
While Smith's name has been resurfacing in recent trade chatter, the prospect of him going to rival Orlando is relatively new. It remains to be seen just what kind of package the Magic could really offer for Smith, though it would certainly have to start with Restricted Free Agent Ryan Anderson.
For now, Josh Smith appears to be part of the Hawks organization until after Draft day and/or until a better offer is on the table.
The Hawks Have Made Lakers Forward Pau Gasol their No. 1 Target in a Trade for Smith
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Hawks have been inquiring about making a Smith-for-Gasol trade since the moment the Lakers went down to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round of the playoffs.
Although the secondary details of the swap are still murky (for what it's worth, this works), the base deal makes sense for both sides. The Lakers are an old team desperately searching for youth and athleticism. Smith provides both while creating an intriguing duo in the middle with Andrew Bynum.
The Hawks, on the other hand, are a team in need of a skilled big man who can stabilize the locker room when things are going wrong. Gasol is a former champion and the most skilled power forward in the NBA at his best. For a team looking to finally make a legitimate playoff push, Gasol would be a perfect fit.
Smith Is on the Houston Rockets' Radar
While Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's dream scenario is to compile assets for a Dwight Howard trade offer, Smith and others have emerged as secondary options if the initial plan falls through, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
With Houston in desperate need of a big man and having more tradeable assets than any other team in the league, the Hawks could fetch a pretty good haul for Smith. The Rockets also wouldn't have to give up nearly as much to acquire Smith as they would Howard, making it easier for them to acquire a second star to build for the future.