Atlanta Hawks' GM Rick Sund needs to pursue a trade next month to bring the Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh to Atlanta. Sund must be aggressive and make a push to try and win an NBA title this season.
The proposed trade is Josh Smith and the rights to Josh Childress for Chris Bosh. The salaries for Smith and Bosh are not that far apart. To make it work, Sund could even throw in Jeff Teague. The trade makes sense for both teams.
For Atlanta, Josh Smith's stock will never be higher than it is right now. Smith is a young star with a manageable contract. On a nightly basis, he is playing with more consistent effort especially on the boards. His ability and potential almost equal Bosh.
The Hawks might be able to get some value from the rights to Josh Childress who is playing right now somewhere in front of 3,257 people in a small gym. The Raptors obtain two young, athletic players and they do not have to worry about losing Bosh this summer and getting nobody in return.
Here are the top five reasons why Rick Sund should make this trade:
Low Post Scoring Option
To win in the playoffs, you need a low post scoring threat. Atlanta desperately needs a low post option. Bosh is an inside and an outside threat, but he would give the Hawks a low post option that would force teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs to double team him in the post.
Coach Woodson could throw the ball inside and surround Bosh with Mike Bibby, Jamal Crawford, Joe Johnson, and Marvin Williams—all of these guys are threats from three-point range. Bosh gives the Hawks another guy that is not afraid to take and make a clutch shot.
Priority No. 1 Is Power Forward Al Horford
Hawks need to focus on signing Horford to a long term deal. While the focus for most teams is the free agents available this summer, Horford is going to be a free agent in 2011.
The Hawks have to start planning for giving Horford a contract that is bigger than Josh Smith's current deal. Unlike Smith, "the Boss" is going to be pursued by any other NBA team with cap space. Horford is probably staring at an offer sheet worth about $75 million and a 2012 Olympic team roster spot.
Horford is the type of player and citizen that every NBA GM and Owner covets. If you watched his interview on TNT tonight, you understand what I am saying. Horford is an All Star player today. His basketball IQ and other intangibles are off the charts.
Horford's unique blend of leadership, skills, work ethic, and humility is worth millions to an NBA franchise. He is a flat out winner as a player and a person.
Coach Mike Woodson would probably start Bibby, JJ, Marvin, Horford, and Bosh. You still have a solid second unit off the bench. Jamal Crawford would still play fourth quarter minutes at the point guard spot.
In the fourth quarter, Woodson could go small with Marvin at the power forward. Marvin could guard Rashard Lewis of the Orlando Magic. Marvin would be a tough match-up for Rasheed or Anderson Varejao.
With Chris Bosh, the Hawks have a legitimate shot to win the Eastern Conference championship. They would just match up better with Orlando and Cleveland. Right now with Josh Smith, the Hawks can beat the Celtics in a seven-game series.
Yes, the Hawks would lose a defensive shot-blocking presence, but Bosh is not a stiff defensively. Bosh actually will get into a defensive stance. He is more fundamentally sound defensively than J-Smoove. Rebounding is probably a stalemate between Smith and Bosh.
The Hawks have an enormous problem dealing with Orlando' Dwight Howard. Howard seems to intimidate the entire team. On the offensive end, Bosh could make Howard play farther away from the basket. That also frees up Horford to roam on the offensive boards or post up Lewis or Ryan Anderson.
The Hawks starting five would be a match up problem for the Magic, Celtics, and Cavaliers, but their flexibility of different combinations would give them a shot to beat anyone in the East.
An NBA Championship Window Is Actually Open For the Hawks, But For How Long?
The 2010 playoffs might be the Hawks last chance to make a run at an NBA Championship. The Hawks are not going to trade Joe Johnson and he might leave this summer. I think JJ might be looking to team up with LeBron James and play the Scottie Pippen role.
Like Johnson, Bosh will be playing for big money. Jamal Crawford will be playing at a high level in his first ever playoffs. Crawford will be playing for his next contract in 2011.
Bibby is aging, but he still is clutch and he wants to get to the NBA Finals after his heartbreak in Sacramento. Zaza Pachulia seems interested in filling his role. He can guard Marcin Gortat. Marvin Williams is better on both ends of the floor. Maurice Evans is huge factor for the Hawks' second unit.
2010 Summer Free Agent Possibilities What if Chris Bosh showed up in Atlanta at the end of February and the Hawks got to the Finals against the Lakers? Bosh might want to re-sign with the Hawks. What if Bosh signs with Atlanta, Joe Johnson leaves for the New York Knicks to play with LeBron, and Bosh convinces Dwayne Wade to come to Atlanta to replace JJ?
That scenario is not that far-fetched. JJ wants something like five years and $80 million. Wade has talked in the past about only taking a three-year deal. Hawks actually could save $20 million and get a superstar. Would Wade pass up a chance to team with Bosh, Horford, Bibby, Marvin, and Crawford and take on LeBron?
The Hawks could be coming off a championship year and actually have better personnel. Joe Johnson is a great player, but he a level below Wade. Wade and Bosh would fill Philips Arena every night.
You might argue that the Hawks would be in trouble if they made this trade and both Bosh and Joe Johnson left this summer. If that happened, the Hawks would have major cash to spend. In that situation, they could make an even harder run at D-Wade.
The Hawks are playing Atlanta whose most famous denizen had a wonderful dream. Hawks ownership has to dare to dream. Be bold. Tell Mr. Sund to fire up his NBA Trade Machine, and let's figure out a way to bring Chris Bosh back to the ATL.