Not only will Josh Smith soon be commanding an undeserved max contract, but the Brooklyn Nets don't have the necessary assets to acquire him from the Atlanta Hawks, who will continue to covet him like the All-Star that he is not.
In this case, two negatives do not make a positive.
If you were wondering where this is coming from, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported late on Sunday night that the Nets were enamored with the polarizing, athletic power forward:
Nets going hard after Josh Smith, sources say. While they've discussed a trade for Ben Gordon, getting Josh is a bigger priority.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 11, 2013
Listen, this isn't Bash Josh Smith Day.
The 27-year-old veteran is a unique talent capable of doing certain unbelievable things on the basketball court that few others can dream of.
Like this (apologies to Serge Ibaka, but this isn't the first time he's been a victim of Smith's ferociousness, either):
Or maybe this:
The idea of putting that on your favorite team is undoubtedly intoxicating, but Smith's gaudy skill set and highlight dunks often take away from the fact that he is a mediocre offensive player in the midst of arguably the worst year of his career.
When someone is 6'9", 225 pounds, has a handle like a guard and athleticism like Vince Carter in his prime, he should be attacking the basket and taking over every game on the offensive end. Smith will do that on occasion, but he too often settles for jump shots.
According to HoopData.com, Smith is averaging 4.0 shots per game from 16 to 23 feet and is converting at just 29.0 percent.
He's also averaging a career-high 2.3 threes per game and making just 32.4 percent of them.
Basically, this (via CBS Sports' Matt Moore):
Josh Smith quote: "I just focus on what I can do to be beneficial on the court." AND "NOT TAKE MID-RANGE JUMPERS" HAS NEVER COME UP?!— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 10, 2013
Smith is averaging 16.9 points per game, sure, but according to Basketball-Reference, he has a career-low true-shooting percentage of 48.5 and an ugly effective field-goal percentage of 47.4.
He's also shooting just over 50 percent from the line and has an offensive rating of 94, which is down there with Jamaal Tinsley and Jan Vesely in a tie for 352nd in the league.
The dynamic big man is an elite defender. He is averaging 1.3 steals and 2.2 blocks per contest, and because of his size and leaping ability, he continues to be one of the most versatile, effective defenders in the league.
Pairing him with Brook Lopez on the Nets' front line would be a deadly combination.
Should the Hawks trade for Josh Smith?
But Smith is making $13.2 million this year and is set to hit free agency in the summer. The veteran will undoubtedly command a raise and probably a max deal.
Unless the Nets can somehow get rid of Gerald Wallace's contract, which pays him over $30 million over the next three seasons (shivers), they can't afford (well, Mikhail Prokhorov probably can afford it, but it's not great business) to take on a player who only positively impacts half of the game and will soon be on a max contract.
Smith could theoretically be used as a playoff-push rental, but giving up Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and potentially a first-round pick is way too expensive for simply that. If the Nets truly want to pay for a rental, the Hawks won't be selling.
On the surface, trading for Smith exemplifies an exciting boost to a team on the verge of a potential title run.
But in reality, it would mean overpaying for someone—if the Nets even have enough to get him in the first place—for someone who will cost a pretty penny to not make the team significantly better.