Atlanta Hawks star Josh Smith is no rookie when it comes to trade rumors, but it's his latest potential landing destination that has everyone talking.
Chris Broussard from ESPN broke the news early Sunday afternoon that the Brooklyn Nets are believed to be the latest team interested in the 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
As reported by ESPN.com on Friday, sources said the Nets also are talking with the Charlotte Bobcats about a Kris Humphries-for-Ben Gordon trade.
While the Nets certainly want Gordon, sources said acquiring Smith is their higher priority. A trade for Smith would seemingly kill a deal for Gordon, because Humphries is one of the players being discussed with Atlanta.
Josh Smith is clearly still a valued commodity in the league despite an otherwise poor season shooting the ball, with teams likely to focus on his strengths and previous successes.
So for Brooklyn to be interested, it is more than logical and reasonable. At 6'9" and 225, Smith would make their frontcourt one of the most prolific in the league and could well turn Brook Lopez into an even more dynamic player than he already has been this year.
Yet the bigger question should not be whether or not Brooklyn should follow through on a deal, but rather, if the Nets can pull off a deal for Smith. Because, at the end of the day, the Nets don't have that many trade options that would tempt Atlanta into parting with Smith any time in the near future.
Broussard reports that the Nets would be willing to give up MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries, but it's hard to see the Hawks jumping at that one.
The next thought was then that the boys from Brooklyn could throw in a draft pick or two—perhaps even a first-round pick—but even that's a tough sell to make. The Nets will likely have a low pick and Smith is, well, pretty darn good at times. So it would seemingly take something more than Humphries or Brooks to entice Atlanta into parting with their star forward.
The Hawks were thought to be interested in trading Smith for a "quality young center" (per ESPN), which would be fine, as long as the Nets had a young center to give.
The only guy they have is Lopez, which semi-defies the point of any deal for Smith in the first place if it's going to cost you one of your better players.
The logical answer then becomes that the Nets would have to get a third team involved—one that not only has a young center that would entice the Hawks but also one that would be interested in taking Humphries, Brooks and/or a low first-round draft pick.
And it's at that point that it all just seems a little tough to pull off.
Brooklyn would no doubt be a great fit for Smith, with forwards being one of the few positions that they could genuinely use an upgrade at. A starting side of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Smith, Reggie Evans and Lopez could impose some real dominance on the league, and would have the Nets primed for a strong playoff run.
Atlanta also seems pretty keen on getting rid of Smith given the enormous contract that the Hawks star has been demanding from the club. They are seemingly unwilling to meet those demands and would therefore love to at least get something in return before losing him to free agency.
Multiple sources: There have been no contract talks between Hawks and Josh Smith, including team refusal to give him a max deal.#ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@ajchawks) February 8, 2013
Yet Brooklyn, by themselves, don't seem like the right fit.
They don't have the trade pieces to offer the Hawks, and don't really have the trade pieces to offer a third team that could also benefit from a deal.
Their interest might be high and their plans might be grand, but unless the Nets can convince the Hawks with something good, the answer will be simple. Thanks, but no thanks.
Will Josh Smith end up making a move to the Brooklyn Nets?
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