Josh Smith: Factors That Will Determine Hawks Star's Future

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Josh Smith: Factors That Will Determine Hawks Star's Future
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Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith has been the source of plenty of rumors leading up to the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

The thing is, he could end up with the Hawks after all.

Four teams in particular have been linked to Smith, and all four of them appear to be long shots in acquiring him.

Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News wrote that the Brooklyn Nets were shifting their attention away from Smith, focusing on Utah Jazz big man Paul Millsap instead.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News wasn't so sure that the San Antonio Spurs would be interested, especially if they had to throw up-and-coming young forward Kawhi Leonard into the mix.

John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer shot down the notion that the 76ers would deal Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes for Smith.

And after breaking down the possible trade chips the Boston Celtics could offer the Hawks, Nicholas S'cento of CLNS Radio didn't see a deal coming together.

All of this makes sense, of course, because Smith has made it clear that he'll be seeking the maximum contract after this season is over. Nobody wants to give up valuable trade chips for a player they could lose after half of a season.

USA TODAY Sports

There's also this interesting tidbit from Ric Bucher of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area:

One GM's view on Josh Smith being dangled out there by the Atlanta Hawks: it's not that they're committed to moving him as much as they want to show him his options and potentially utilize that to persuade him that staying in Atlanta for less than a maximum salary -- his desire -- could be more attractive. There remains a very good chance that if he is moved, it is after the season rather than before the February trade deadline.

Will Josh Smith end up in Atlanta after all?

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What if, after all of this, Smith realizes that no one wants to give him a max contract? Staying in Atlanta may not be as impossible as it seems.

The Hawks have been trying to move Smith for a while now, but nothing has come to fruition. Sometimes the climate isn't right for a trade, and for whatever reason, this climate always seems to settle over the collective heads of Smith and the Hawks.

When all is said and done, Smith may stay in Atlanta after all. He's still contributing across the board—averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals—and he may scale back his demands in the offseason when he realizes no one is biting.

 

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