NBA Rumors: What Rumored Team Has Best Chance to Land Josh Smith?

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IIJune 28, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 15:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 15, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Hawks defeated the Suns 101-99.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

ESPN's Marc Stein reports that there are a number of teams who have made calls to the Atlanta Hawks regarding interest in power forward Josh Smith.

Among those teams are the Boston Celtics, L.A. Lakers, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. There's no doubt that all of those teams could seriously benefit from adding Smith's talents to their roster, but that doesn't mean they'll be able to land him.

The Hawks' new GM is apparently not as willing to just up and part with Smith, reports Stein:

 "Yet as 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." 

Even with Ferry apparently not ready to part with Smith yet, there's a chance that a team could make an offer that he simply couldn't refuse. Let's assess the possibility of one of the above four teams landing Smith.  

 

Boston Celtics

While Smith and his ridiculous athleticism and versatility would be a perfect fit for Boston, the Celtics just don't have enough trade bait to reel him in.

Aside from packaging one of their two All-Stars, Rajon Rondo or Paul Pierce, with their first-round picks, the Celtics don't have enough value to offer the Hawks. Trading Pierce or Rondo for Smith doesn't make sense for the Celtics because it would just be swapping talent instead of actually making an upgrade across the board.

With the No. 21 and 22 picks in the 2012 NBA draft, the Celtics don't have enough draft value to offer the Hawks for Smith either, and that's also at the foundation of why the Celtics trading for Smith won't happen. 

 

Orlando Magic

Smith playing in Orlando alongside Dwight Howard is an exciting thought, but it's one that won't come to fruition.

Not only do the Magic not have enough draft value to offer the Hawks, they also don't have talent to throw at the Hawks to make trading away Smith worth it for the Hawks.

Landing Smith for the Magic would mean, at the least, trading away Ryan Anderson, Jameer Nelson, Jason Richardson and No. 19 and 49 picks. While that's certainly possible, that's a lot of for the Magic to give away, and it might not be enough for the Hawks.

The Magic just don't have enough star talent to offer the Hawks, which is what the Hawks should be looking for in return for Smith.   

 

L.A. Lakers

The Lakers are reportedly shopping Pau Gasol, and while a straight swap for Smith won't be enough, the Lakers certainly have one of the better shots at landing Smith.

The only reason a trade involving Gasol and Smith won't work is because the Lakers want the team they trade Gasol to to assume the $38 million left on his contract over the next two years.

That's quite a commitment for the Hawks to make, especially seeing that they have one of the most overpriced contracts in the NBA in Joe Johnson and the $80-plus million they have tied up in him over the next four years.

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 29:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks directs his team against the Boston Celtics in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on April 29, 2012 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User
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Trading for Gasol is just too expensive for the Hawks. Now, if the Lakers decide to absorb some of Gasol's contract, then this trade will become more of a reality. 

 

Houston Rockets

Of all the teams rumored to be interested in Smith, the Rockets have the highest chance of actually landing him.

In addition to having Kyle Lowry as trade bait, they also have the No. 12, 16 and 18 picks in the 2012 NBA draft, and that's certainly more than enough to land Smith.

If the Hawks want to build for the future and also create cap space to pursue free agents this offseason, the Rockets are the team that can undoubtedly help them do that.

Even though the Hawks GM seems to be more focused on keeping Smith than moving forward without him, if there's one team that could land him, it's certainly the Houston Rockets.