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Josh Smith's days as a Hawk may be numbered.
There’s a high possibility that Josh Smith will not be wearing a Hawks uniform next year. Trade talks are being thrown at him from all directions and his recent “max-player” claim may not have helped.
After all, Atlanta is still shuddering from signing Joe Johnson—a glorified role player—to a ridiculous six year, $119 million contract in the summer of 2010.
The Hawks’ front office does not need to make that mistake again.
For one, Smith is not a maximum-contract-type player. He is still awaiting his first All-Star invitation in his nine seasons, and he leads a team that is known for first-round ousts in the playoffs.
He is an incredible defender and has revived the Highlight Factory at Philips Arena. His numbers (16.9 points, 4 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game) are solid, but not enough for him to get more than the $13.2 million he’s already earning.
There are times where he posts 30 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and four blocks, like in the Hawks’ 104-92 win against the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 23.
Then there are games where he makes only 7 of 20 shots, like he did against the Boston Celtics two nights after the Hawks defeated the Bobcats.
It hasn’t looked too good for Smith since the one-game suspension he served in mid-January for an incident in practice.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard recently reported that general manager Danny Ferry met with Smith’s agent to discuss his future in Atlanta.
The message is pretty clear now, and it could be time to prepare for Smith's departure.