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Is Josh Smith worthy of a max contract?
Red Flag: Unrestricted free agent after the season; is he worthy of a max contract?
This isn't the first time Smith has appeared on the trade block, as rumors have swirled around him multiple times over the past few years.
In Smith, an NBA team would be inheriting an athletic freak who is competent on both ends of the court. With career averages of 15.2 points, eight rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.2 blocks, Smith can fill up the stat sheet like few others.
His athleticism and versatility give him the ability to play either small forward or power forward, which is extremely valuable in today's NBA and also expands his market, as almost every team in the league could stand to improve at either the 3 or the 4.
At 27 years of age, Smith is entering his prime, although he must improve his efficiency on the offensive end of the court in order to take the next and likely final stage in his development. Until then, there will continue to be those who question whether or not he is deserving of a max contract.
According to John Hollinger's rankings on ESPN.com (subscription required), Smith is ranked 73rd in league with a PER of 17.49.
Is a player ranked 73rd in player efficiency worthy of a maximum contract? I certainly don't think so, which leaves Smith's future in question.
Presumably, any team that trades for Smith will be seeking a long-term, reliable building block on a title contender. However, with his contract coming off the books after this season, factors like efficiency have to be taken into account, as very few teams will want to acquire a big name like Smith only to see him in another jersey by next season.
A franchise looking to make a splash will strongly pursue Smith, with the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets looking like potential landing spots for the high-flying forward.