Josh Smith on 2013 Free Agency: 'I Feel Like I'm a Max Player'

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Josh Smith on 2013 Free Agency: 'I Feel Like I'm a Max Player'
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When the 2013 period of NBA free agency rolls around, there will be numerous stars on the market. Led by the likes of Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, this is shaping up to be one of the most memorable offseasons in NBA history.

If you ask Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, he's right there with the superstars in deserving a max contract.

According to Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smith made such clear during a recent interview. Per Schultz, it was the first time Smith had ever made such a claim.

J-Smoove offered up his reasons why he deserves such a financial honor.

“I feel like I’m a max player,” Smith said Friday.

“I feel I bring a lot to the table. I have a lot of versatility. For what I do and what I give this ball club, I feel like I’m worth it.”

The first name that comes to mind when you pair "Atlanta Hawks" and "max contract" is Joe Johnson.

The Hawks handed Johnson a deal worth $119 million over six years back in 2010 (via Yahoo! Sports). Johnson's mega-millions marked the first max contract in franchise history.

They haven't given one out since.

Not only did Johnson's deal prevent Atlanta from working the free agency wire and improving their supporting cast, but it failed to pan out. Johnson saw statistical decline in each passing season and is no longer with the team.

In reference to such a truth, Smith has made one thing clear: He is not Joe Johnson. He is Josh Smith.

There shouldn’t be any hesitation. I’m Josh Smith, I’m not anybody else. I'm not Michael Jordan, I'm not LeBron James, I'm not Brook Lopez. I'm Josh Smith. You can’t look at what might’ve happened with another person. Let’s say Joe. You can’t say, ‘I'm skeptical of giving another person that’ because of whatever they feel like happened.

That's the truth.

For what it's worth, Smith is on pace to post the 14th season since 1974 with at least 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steals. He'd be the seventh player to achieve such a feat since 1974.

Statistically speaking, Smith is a no-brainer for a max contract. The question is, will an NBA franchise hand him one?

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