NBA Trade Rumors: Josh Smith Would Make Spurs Unstoppable in Western Conference
According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears, there is a possibility the Spurs land the forward:
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.
The Spurs already own the best record in the Association and hold a one-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference. The team has been winning of late without Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili, as both veterans have been dealing with nagging injuries.
Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter have all picked up their games and steadied the ship since Duncan went down, as evidenced by their 13-1 record since Jan. 13. With that in mind, we shouldn't expect Gregg Popovich to rush The Big Fundamental back to the floor any time soon.
He'll do what he always does: save his stars for postseason play. And the Spurs will be one of the favorites to win the West in 2013, like so many seasons past.
This would be the case even without adding Smith to the mix. But with Smith, the Spurs would be nearly impossible to defeat in a seven-game series (provided Duncan is healthy, of course).
ESPN.com's Joe Kaiser (Insider protected) delves into what it might cost San Antonio to acquire Smith:
Would a package centered around Tiago Splitter and Nando de Colo be enticing enough for the Hawks? It's not a perfect match, to be sure, but the Spurs don't have a lot of other young players who they'd be looking to trade, unless they end up including Kawhi Leonard in the deal.
Should San Antonio make the move for Josh Smith?
From where I'm sitting, it wouldn't be a good move for San Antonio to give up Leonard. At 21 years of age, Leonard represents the future of the franchise, and his defensive prowess is a trait Popovich treasures above all else.
Splitter and De Colo, on the other hand, are expendable players—especially if Smith is the prize the Spurs get in return. Splitter plays smaller than his size, and players like De Colo are a dime a dozen in today's NBA.
If San Antonio were to land Smith, he and Duncan would make a formidable duo in the middle. Duncan has had success in the past as a center, and Smith's ability to stretch defenses with his outside shot (averaging a career-high 34.5 percent from three) would allow the team to really space out the floor.
Both big men can play inside and out, which would make life difficult for opposing defenses.
Smith is a better rebounder and a more intimidating presence in the middle than Splitter—despite the fact that Splitter has a few inches and 15 pounds on him—and San Antonio would become a truly dynamic team on both sides of the court with him in the lineup.
As a bonus, Smith would be a nice insurance policy for the inevitable moment when Duncan finally decides to retire.
It remains to be seen if general manager R.C. Buford is willing to pull the trigger on a deal for Smith, but if he does, the Spurs will become the team to beat in the Western Conference when the NBA playoffs kick into high gear.
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