The San Antonio Spurs are already on the shortlist of championship contenders for the 2012-13 season, and they are apparently looking to make a huge splash on or before the Feb. 21 trading deadline.
The Spurs are among the teams with interest in Hawks forward Josh Smith, a source told Yahoo! Sports. Keep in mind, Hawks general manager Danny Ferry was previously with the Spurs.
This would be a major transaction that would inject some much-needed youth and athleticism into an aging franchise. The Spurs are hoping to make another title run with the “Big Three” of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, but they could use another star to help them achieve their lofty goal.
After falling short to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Western Conference Finals, it became clear that the Spurs' roster simply didn’t have the athleticism to contain such a fast-paced, high-scoring, youthful opponent.
Smith would instantly change the culture around San Antonio, as his athletic skill set would mesh perfectly in the low post with the fundamentally sound Duncan.
Through 47 games in the 2012-13 campaign, "J-Smoove" is averaging 17.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.3 steals in 35.8 minutes per contest.
He has improved his once questionable shot selection, and coach Gregg Popovich—widely regarded as one of the best in the league—would certainly help remove that dreaded, inefficient long two from his repertoire.
One major roadblock of any potential deal is the fact that Smith is playing out the last year of his contract and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The nine-year veteran is reportedly seeking a max deal, something the Hawks are reluctant to dole out and, which is likely a large reason why they would be open to move him prior to the deadline.
The Spurs would have to give up a lot to acquire Smith in the next week or so, and then ownership would have to open the bank to pay him if they are going to keep their investment around longer than one playoff run.
It’s an intriguing dilemma, and one that both parties are sure to mull over during the next few days. Anything could happen at the trade deadline, so don’t be surprised to see J-Smoove in a Spurs jersey come Feb. 22.