NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Future of Josh Smith

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2013

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 11:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Center on February 11, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA trade deadline is just about 48 hours away, and Atlanta Hawks star forward Josh Smith is a near-lock to be dealt. However, just where he ends up is anybody's guess.

A handful of teams have shown interest in the dynamic forward, but no front-runner has yet emerged as the clock continues to tick. Still, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Hawks are "determined" to move their star player.

Stein named the Boston Celtics as a team interested in Smith, but that deal becoming a reality isn't likely. First, the only way that Boston trading for Smith works money-wise is if Celtics GM Danny Ainge gives up one of his key veterans or if he sends Brandon Bass and Jason Terry to Atlanta. Terry would be a great fit in Atlanta, having spent the first five years of his career there, but Atlanta is unlikely to be willing to take on the slow-footed Bass.

Moreover, it seems unlikely that Atlanta would be willing to deal Smith to an Eastern Conference rival. This means that despite what ESPN's Chris Broussard has reported regarding interest from the Brooklyn Nets and the ever-willing Washington Wizards, it doesn't seem like Smith will remain in the East if he is traded.

That doesn't mean that the Hawks are absolutely opposed to the idea of trading Smith to a rival conference team. Stein tweeted that Atlanta has spoken with the Milwaukee Bucks about trading Smith for guard Monta Ellis, and this deal makes sense given the needs of both squads.

Stein also named the Phoenix Suns as a team interested in Smith but noted that both they and the Bucks were unlikely to land him due to the difficulty they would have in convincing him to sign a long-term contract come July.

That all being said, it seems all but a certainty that Smith is going to be traded. The only problem is that without a front-runner emerging, there's no telling where he will end up.

The Hawks had better hope that a buyer is found in the next two days, lest they want to risk losing Smith for nothing this summer and risk entering a rebuilding phase early.