Josh Smith: Brooklyn Nets Need to Avoid Trading for Atlanta Hawks Forward

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IFebruary 11, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 30:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks against the Toronto Raptors at Philips Arena on January 30, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets would be doomed to a future of mediocrity if they traded for Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith.

Well, if a report by ESPN's Chris Broussard is true, the Nets must feel like expensive mediocrity is an attractive destination: 

Now, it is important to remember that, as we approach the Feb. 21 trade deadline, it gets harder to believe reports. Teams float misinformation out there to try and best suit their purposes. 

Nets fans need to hope that the basis of Broussard's report was spawned from some sort of planted fiction because this deal is terrible for the franchise. 

There is no mention of what the Nets were dangling in the reported pursuit, but it doesn't matter. The bigger problem with Smith is what it would take to keep him after he was acquired. 

Smith, 27, will be a free agent at the end of the season, and he is looking to get paid—like max contract getting paid. 

Obviously, just because Smith wants a max contract, it does not mean he is going to get it. However, it does make it likely that he will aggressively shop himself at the season's end to create a bidding war for his services. 

In other words, whichever team lands him, will do so by overpaying him. The Nets can't be this team. 

Smith has an attractive stat line this season. He is averaging 16.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. However, he needs a lot of shots to get those points. 

Smith is too eager to settle for jumpers and he is shooting just 45.1 percent from the floor. He is not a max player. He is an athletic player who doesn't seem to have the mental makeup to fully utilize his strengths.

The Nets already have their hands full with questionable big contracts. They have nearly $70 million over the next three years tied up just in Smith's former teammate Joe Johnson.

While owner Mikhail Prokhorov is clearly not overly concerned about the luxury tax, he does need to be concerned about shelling out that coin to the right players. 

The Nets would not go through the trouble of trading for Smith if they didn't have the intention of re-signing him, and signing Johnson would lock the Nets into a future of overwhelmingly bad contracts.

This would keep them from adding any free agents in any way other than the small exceptions.

Smith is not going to take the Nets to the next level. They need a forward that can own the boards and have a big inside presence. Smith is going to shoot jumpers and offer sporadic bursts of intensity.

For the kind of money it would take to re-sign Smith, the Nets must find a better fit.