According to Chris Broussard of ESPN New York, the Brooklyn Nets are aggressively pursuing a trade for Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith. The Hawks are reportedly looking for a "young center," per Marc Stein of ESPN.
Unfortunately for the hopeful Brooklynites out there, the Nets lack the necessary pieces to justify a trade.
The interest in Smith comes with good reason. J-Smoove is on pace to become the first player since 2004 and 14th player all time to average at least 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 steal simultaneously.
Most recently, Smith went off for 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in a 105-101 win over the Dallas Mavericks.
With all of this being said, the Nets simply do not have the pieces to orchestrate a deal. The only young center that would be worth Atlanta's interest is Brook Lopez.
Considering the idea here is to pair Lopez with Smith, swapping the two would defeat the purpose of a deal.
This merely scratches the surface of what is wrong with a potential Smith-to-Brooklyn trade. Outside of not having the young center Atlanta is pursuing, the Nets do not have any sure-fire stars in return for Atlanta's leader.
Specifically in the post.
A Look at the Proposal
In Broussard's previously alluded to report, it was acknowledged that the Hawks are looking for a young center in return for Smith. Broussard continued to outline what the Nets were willing to give up for Smith.
Not so attractive.
The Nets are willing to give up Humphries and second-year shooting guard MarShon Brooks for Smith. But it almost certainly will take more than a Humphries-Brooks combination to pry Smith away from Atlanta, and one source said the Hawks want Brooklyn's first-round pick.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Saturday that the Hawks want a young center in return for Smith.
Forgive me for my skepticism, but I find it hard to believe that the Nets will be able to pull a deal off with their current pieces.
Kris Humphries is an underrated player that happens to be one of the league's premier rebounders. He's also an improving offensive player that has made significant strides over the past three seasons.
With that being said, Humphries is 28 and set to receive $12.0 million in 2013-14.
With the Hawks gearing up for an offseason in which they have the cap space to acquire multiple stars, it's hard to believe they'll jeopardize that opportunity for a role player. Even if they were to acquire a draft pick, that would likely be in the 20s.
As for Brooks, he's an enticing product. The question is this: is he valuable enough to compensate for losing Smith?
The MarShon Brooks Factor
For those unfamiliar with Brooks, he is a 24-year-old shooting guard in his second year in the NBA. He also missed 10 games due to injury in 2011-12 and has been limited to 11.2 minutes per game in 2012-13.
Brooks may have upside, but what guarantee does Atlanta have that they will get anything close to a fair deal here?
Atlanta currently has a shooting guard position that features sharpshooters Kyle Korver, Anthony Morrow and rookie John Jenkins. Lou Williams is also available for the long-term, assuming he recovers from a torn ACL.
In other words, the Hawks' biggest need is far from shooting guard. What they need is an interior presence.
Something they can find in free agency.
Free Agency Looming
When the 2013 offseason rolls around, the likes of Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bynum and Al Jefferson will be unrestricted free agents. In other words, there is a potential for multiple superstars to end up in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Hawks will have just $21,513,122 tied up entering that period of time. For perspective, the Luxury Tax level was set at $70,307,000 for 2012-13.
That's a difference of $48,793,878.
Suddenly, the fact that Howard is from Atlanta, Georgia becomes all the more enticing. Even if Hakeem Olajuwon believes D-12 will remain in Los Angeles, one thing is clear.
By getting rid of Joe Johnson and constructing a roster with eight expiring contracts, the Hawks appear to be gearing up for something special. Something that few other teams have the cap flexibility to do.
So why would they throw $12.0 million at Kris Humphries?
This is not to say that Humphries is not a good player, but instead to suggest that there are better players available for a similar or lesser cost. In fact, there are superstars available for a similar cost.
So why would Atlanta damage a beautiful amount of cap space for one role player?
This is the question that Danny Ferry will likely ask the Nets when the trade talks begin. Chances are, Brooklyn will not have an answer for them.
Atlanta deserves to get something in return for Smith if he is going to leave. Brooklyn simply doesn't have the personnel to get it done.
Not unless they bring in a third team.