Yet as [new Hawks general manager Danny] Ferry settles into the job, sources say he wants to take stock of things before deciding if he's prepared to go into next season without Smith, who is entering the final year of his contract at $13.2 million and has let it be known for some time that he'd welcome a trade.
Now remember, this report comes as a direct contrast to a Los Angeles Times report from Wednesday that said the Hawks were aggressively shopping Smith to Los Angeles for fellow rumor mill fodder Pau Gasol:
The lede from that story:
The Atlanta Hawks have aggressively tried to trade power forward Josh Smith to the Los Angeles Lakers for Pau Gasol, initially expressing interest in Gasol shortly after Oklahoma City eliminated the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, The Times has learned.
Both reports are from reputable writers, so there's no need to question the validity of either one. What we need to question is what good reason the Hawks have for even considering holding onto Smith.
Here are a few reasons the Hawks would be making a mistake if they decide against moving Smith:
1. They can get Pau Gasol in return and rid themselves of Marvin Williams' contract.
It took about five seconds of tinkering with ESPN.com's NBA Trade machine to figure out that Gasol and Josh McRoberts for Smith and Williams works under the salary cap.
If either general manager involved would decline that deal, they need to be fired immediately and replaced with the manatees who write "Family Guy."
Gasol is a perfect compliment to the Hawks' roster as currently constituted and strikes me as a classic change of scenery guy.
Plus, Ferry becomes an instant hero in Atlanta by dealing away Marvin Williams, arguably the most hated player in Hawks history. He has developed into a solid role player, but Hawks fans have never forgiven Williams for being "the guy we took instead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul."
This is a no-lose situation for both sides here.
2. Smith's contract is expiring and he wants out of Atlanta.
Smith has expressed unhappiness in Atlanta for over a year now (I'm assuming) for what he felt were unwarranted criticisms by coaches and the Atlanta media.
He requested a trade before the trade deadline this season and let the Hawks know of his desire to play out his contract and hit the free agent market if he was not traded.
I'll go out on a limb here and say there's not chance that Smith is donning a Hawks jersey come the 2013-14 season. If you can get something (especially an All-Star like Gasol) in return, why not make a deal now before the situation becomes a distraction heading into next year? That will only force Ferry into the corner of taking 75 cents on the dollar for the Smith.
With teams offering full price right now (and more with Gasol), there's literally no logic in keeping him.
3. Smith isn't a superstar
It's always been my position that the Magic need to trade Dwight Howard before he torpedoes his value to Shaq-to-Miami levels. But throughout the process, I've understood the logic of Orlando management. The next Dwight Howard isn't coming in any trade scenario. Their team will be inarguably worse and fan interest will wane in the post-Howard era.
The same can't be said for Smith. There may not be a player who can do what he does with an equivalent flair, but there are players you can find on the market to help mitigate his loss.
This seems like a rather abstract reason for trading someone, but when you factor the other variables of the equation in, there's no question the Hawks need to move swiftly to trade their enigmatic power forward.
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