NBA Rumors: Breaking Down All of the Whispers Involving the Atlanta Hawks

Amber North@NoDensityContributor IIDecember 22, 2012

NBA Rumors: Breaking Down All of the Whispers Involving the Atlanta Hawks

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    The Atlanta Hawks have definitely been one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season. Hiring Danny Ferry as general manager was the first step to this successful pace. 

    When he came in, he did the unthinkable and sent Joe Johnson and his gargantuan contract to the Brooklyn Nets. Even though that was a positive move for the team, it did not stop rumors circulating around the league, particularly involving Hawks forward Josh Smith.

    Those rumors have since been hushed, now that the Hawks are considered as "unengaged" in trade talks.

    However, that could all change once the February 21 trade deadline starts to creep up. Here is a list of Hawks players that could join Smith in the NBA grapevine.

Josh Smith

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    Josh Smith has clearly established himself as the Hawks' go-to guy. And along with that comes a lot of suitors, especially when your contract expires after the season. 

    There were first whispers about a possible Los Angeles Lakers-Atlanta Hawks trade. Some details included sending Pau Gasol and point guard Chris Duhon to Atlanta for Josh Smith and point guard Devin Harris.

    The Hawks reportedly called the Lakers to inquire about said trade, but the Lakers allegedly rejected the offer. Pau Gasol has already missed eight games while Smith has led the Hawks to an explosive 15-8 start. 

    The silver lining of this trade was that Smith would be reunited with AAU teammate and fellow Atlanta native Dwight Howard

    In the end, this trade would not have worked out for either parties. Smith already expressed to Sports Illustrated back in July that he was sticking around in Atlanta and holding out hope for Howard to play with him.

    The Boston Celtics were also interested in Smith. Some of the details included a first-round pick, Brandon Bass via sign-and-trade and another player for Smith. 

    These two were the most interesting of rumors, but they still are not going to happen. The Hawks are clearly gelling into a team that could seriously compete in the Eastern Conference, so it is highly unlikely they will trade the one player that has conducted this surge. 

Al Horford

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    When Ferry traded Joe Johnson and forward Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz, that freed up $130 million of salary space.

    That stirred up a lot of talks about Josh Smith and the Hawks trying to lure Dwight Howard to come back to Atlanta, which would send Al Horford back to Florida, to the Orlando Magic, in return. 

    Of course, that did not pan out that way. 

    Horford admitted being taken aback by this summer's roster shift, but he has played well since coming back from a four-month absence due to a shoulder injury. His 15.6 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game could definitely attract attention from other teams, but it looks like he is another mainstay, like Smith.

Jeff Teague

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    Jeff Teague came into this season with bigger expectations than in his previous years. Ferry wanted Teague to step into the leadership role and make the Hawks his team more than it has ever been.

    Still, the four-year point guard and Hawks have yet to reach a deal on a contract extension. 

    Teague told HoopsWorld that he was disappointed about the non-deal but that he would not allow it to be a distraction. He also said he would prefer to remain in Atlanta and that he would accept any offer (possibly a $3.5 million deal) that would help the team win.

    Teague has done a good job so far fulfilling his responsibilities as the playmaker. Newly-acquired guard Lou Williams has added another dimension to the Hawks offense, which has given Teague more opportunities to explore outside of the point and score more.

    That could certainly help him stay in a Hawks uniform.

Devin Harris

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    If there is one player in danger of being traded, it's guard Devin Harris. He was already linked in the Gasol-Smith trade.

    He has yet to show the Hawks the explosiveness that he displayed while with the New Jersey Nets and Utah Jazz. It was only four seasons ago when he was averaging 21.6 points per a game, but he's only scored 20 points once this season and is averaging 7.7 points a game. 

    That's hardly a reason to keep a guy with a $8.5 million contract. True, his position is crowded with scorers like Teague and Williams, but if Harris doesn't find his comfort zone soon, he could very well be sent packing.