Best NBA Trade Destinations for Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith

Amber North@NoDensityContributor IIFebruary 11, 2013

Best NBA Trade Destinations for Atlanta Hawks' Josh Smith

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    Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith is not too concerned about the web of trade rumors revolving around him.

    His suitors, on the other hand, are persistently interested. So much so that the Hawks recently had no choice but to listen to them.

    There hasn't been any real talk yet, but there are only 10 days left until the trade deadline.

    If the Hawks allow that to pass, they still could opt not to match Smith's demand for a maximum contract.

    That means J-Smoove, who has lived all 27 of his years in Atlanta, will have to find his groove elsewhere. 

No. 5: Dallas Mavericks

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    This year's Mavericks are looking like a pathetic version of the 2011 NBA Championship team.

    It hasn't helped that their star player, Dirk Nowitzki, missed the first 27 of their 48 games after having knee surgery.

    With Dallas' dire need of an offensive spark, and owner Mark Cuban's generous wallet, Josh Smith could get the high-profile attention and big money wearing a Mavs uniform.

    Nowitzki's 14.7 points per game is the lowest since his rookie year in 1998-99 and is second on the team behind O.J. Mayo's 18 points per game (as of Feb. 10).

    Forwards Vince Carter and Shawn Marion are averaging double digits but, like Nowitzki, they are not getting any younger. 

    Marion told ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon that he expects the Mavs to inform him about getting traded if it were to happen, but would refuse to leave if it's to a non-contender. 

    Well, the Hawks are an above-.500 team that is better positioned for the playoffs than the Mavericks. And if the Mavs really want Smith, they could let Marion go, along with the $9.3 million they would owe him next season.

    The only thing is whether Dallas' front office thinks Smith is worth such a huge contract. 

No. 4: Boston Celtics

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    The Celtics have not expressed interest in Josh Smith since last season's trade deadline, but Boston still would be a good destination for him.

    For one, veteran power forward Kevin Garnett could use the help in the defense department. He has been the major player on that side of the ball and Smith's pesky endurance and intensity would add to that. 

    Smith could also use the motivation from Garnett and Paul Pierce's leadership. Both have been in the league for over a decade and still manage to be significant on the team's roster.

    Even better, they would put the 27-year-old in check whenever he has his temper tantrums.

    It's all up to general manager Danny Ainge and whether he feels Smith is worth the risky gamble of paying a maximum contract.

    If that were the case, Pierce could be sent packing, and that may not sit well with the Boston faithful.

No. 3: Houston Rockets

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    James Harden and Jeremy Lin are big-time right now in Houston, and adding Josh Smith would be one of the most explosive "Big Three" concoctions in recent years. 

    That trio may not bring a championship trophy to Houston, but they sure would be fun to watch. And the Rockets have shown they are not afraid to throw out the dough. 

    Smith could still play in the high-paced offense that he's accustomed to while still getting the maximum dollars he craves.

    The Rockets will have the cap space for a high-profile free agent like Smith, even with Harden's huge contract.

    But the bright picture may be blurry come the 2014-15 season. According to NBA.com's Fran Blinebury, the Rockets will spend $45 million on Harden, Lin and center Omer Asik combined. 

    That could be a problem for the Rockets if Smith is added to the roster. They would have one season of awesomeness before the ball is dropped and someone is sent packing.

No. 2: Phoenix Suns

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    The Phoenix Suns have been a persistent candidate for the Josh Smith hunt. 

    According to HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy, the Suns were heavily pursuing Smith and viewed him as a franchise player.

    Kennedy also said that the Suns were interested in a Martin Gortat package to Atlanta for the 12-year forward. That way, the Hawks get their big muscle man while the Suns look to Smith to revitalize the team.

    The Suns (17-35) are the only team on this list in a serious rebuilding phase. In the loss against Oklahoma City on Feb. 10, none of the starting five scored in double digits.

    This is why Phoenix has been shopping for a star player for the last six months, according to Kennedy. He also stated that the Suns would have $20 million in cap space left if they were to trade for Smith and re-sign him over the summer.

    Smith may not want to join a team that is well under .500, but if the Suns are giving him the right price, the desert could be site of his new home.

No. 1: Brooklyn Nets

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    So far, the Brooklyn Nets are winning the race to lure Josh Smith. They are reportedly in heavy pursuit, and it could happen before the deadline expires.

    There was a recent rumor floating around about the Nets trading power forward Kris Humphries for Charlotte Bobcats reserve guard Ben Gordon, who is currently making $12.4 million. 

    But getting Smith is more enticing, according to ESPN's Chris Broussard.

    That means the 27-year-old could be reuniting with his former Hawks teammate, guard Joe Johnson.

    That could work nicely for Brooklyn as long as Smith is not bitter from the "Iso-Joe" offense he had to endure for seven of his nine seasons.

    He wouldn't have to worry, though, because point guard Deron Williams has that offense under control. There will be no isolating any player, that's for sure.

    And with Smith and center Brook Lopez defending in the post, the Nets would be an even tougher team to score off of. They rank fifth in the league in opponents' points per game (94.6). 

    If the Nets are for real about this offer, the Hawks would certainly benefit to at least give it a serious listen.