Josh Smith is no longer a source of uncertainty...for now.
Though the Atlanta Hawks had "convinced" multiple teams they were going to deal the oft-conflicted forward prior to the trade deadline, they ultimately didn't.
Atlanta pulled out of Josh Smith talks with Milwaukee late, kept pushing until the end. Should make for an interesting summer.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 21, 2013
Atlanta's refusal to deal Smith comes as somewhat of a surprise after it tested the market so aggressively. But while he remains with the Hawks, let's not fool ourselves into believing this soap opera is finished, because it's not.
Smith will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and will have the right to sign with any team he wants. The Hawks, however, can still work out a sign-and-trade to receive something in return.
By doing that, Atlanta is able to capitalize off Smith's departure and the forward himself is then eligible to receive a full five-year contract.
Don't rule out the possibility of the Hawks retaining Smith beyond this season either. They still have plenty of cap space to burn, and bringing in another top-tier talent could be just what Atlanta needs to convince Smith to stay.
Indulge in the bliss and certitude that comes immediately following the NBA's trade deadline, because knowing how tenuous and ambivalent the relationship between the Hawks and Smith still is, said euphoria won't last very long.
*All stats used in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference, Synergy Sports and 82games.com unless otherwise noted.