Josh Smith has been the subject of trade rumors for what feels like forever, and they don't look like they're going away anytime soon.
Smith is entering the final year of his contract. For some, that would equal a quick multi-year extension, but Hawks general manager Danny Ferry doesn't seem optimistic just yet.
Look at this quote supplied by Ferry to Atlanta Constitution-Journal reporter Chris Vivlamore:
I’ve been clear that I value Josh as a player. He has worked hard this summer and I believe he is going to have great season. I’ve been in contact with his representatives. Josh and his representatives have been clear that he is excited about the direction of the team and wants to be part of the future in Atlanta. That being said, I don’t expect the contract situation to be resolved until next summer.
Ferry obviously isn't throwing money at his team's best player, somewhat predictably. That should land Smith smack in the middle of potential dealings all season long, some real and some not.
For his career, Smith averages 15.1 points per game, 7.9 rebounds and more than three assists. Throw in 2.2 blocks per night, and you have yourself an extremely versatile athlete on both ends of the floor.
In the name of food for thought, let's look at three jerseys Smith would look good in.
The Nuggets will be one of the NBA's most exciting teams this year, and one star player could be the missing link.
Picture a combination of Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala and Josh Smith running George Karl's breakneck attack. Opponents don't want to see that, but it would be a treat for NBA fans.
Not only would Smith look good in Denver's colors, but they have the assets to make it happen.
Rookies like Quincy Miller and Evan Fournier possess tantalizing upside. Jordan Hamilton and Wilson Chandler are both capable scorers, and Kenneth Faried could probably be had if Smith was coming back Denver's way.
Add in some configuration of draft picks, and Atlanta would listen.
Smith's athleticism and shot-blocking ability would fit extremely well in Karl's system, giving Denver a boost on both ends of the floor.
The Warriors don't have the assets to part with like Denver does, but Smith would look wonderful in their lineup.
Golden State would probably have to part with sharpshooter Klay Thompson to swing a deal, but a healthy Steph Curry makes that doable.
Adding Smith would give them a viable interior presence who can also extend the defense. This opens up the paint for Andrew Bogut and makes the offense more versatile.
The Warriors would have to add lesser players next to Thompson, draft picks and possibly David Lee's bloated contract, but a deal would be possible for the right price.
A nucleus of Smith, Curry, Bogut and rookie Harrison Barnes would look pretty attractive moving forward.
The 76ers were able to snag Andrew Bynum as their center of the (hopefully) future, but one more piece wouldn't hurt.
Philadelphia is a young team, with a few pieces that would attract Ferry.
Which team makes the most sense?
Rookie big man Arnett Moultrie has a ton of room to grow, and he is capable athleticism-wise. Thaddeus Young has always been a very interesting two-way player, and Evan Turner is a budding 2-guard.
Those three in some capacity, plus any lesser players or picks, would make for an interesting package, and it would be worth it.
A nucleus of Jrue Holiday, Smith and Bynum would be very interesting in the coming years. Smith fits Doug Collins' hard-nosed mentality, and he would give them a go-to player on the wing.
These teams are far from a guarantee, but it's always fun to think about. One thing is almost certain; Smith will be discussed again this season.
One team could get very lucky for the right price.