NBA Trade Rumors: Five Reasons The Atlanta Hawks Need To Trade Josh Smith
The Atlanta Hawks have dished out two big contracts in only the past couple months. They signed All Star guard Joe Johnson to a six year $119 million contract in the off season, and they recently extended forward/center Al Horford to a five year $60 million extension right before the November 1 deadline.
That's $179 million between two players, which is a lot of money to dish out. The Hawks are one of the five best teams in the East, but they aren't considered to be on the same level as the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, or Orlando Magic.
However, the Hawks have a talented trade chip in forward Josh Smith, and now is the best time to get as much assets out of Smith's value as possible.
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5. Money, Money, Money
As I mentioned in the introduction the Hawks have dished out $179 million to Horford and Johnson and they now have some other decisions to make.
Reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford is entering his final year of his contract and if Atlanta plans on keeping him they're going to have to make some moves to give him his deal.
If they let Crawford walk they still won't have enough money to sign someone like Crawford or at the same price that they are paying Crawford currently.
Josh Smith has the second highest contract on the team, making $11.6 million this season and $12.4 million next year, Smith is the player that the Hawks will have to let go in order to create this space.
4. Other Teams Want Him
Josh Smith is one of the best forwards in the NBA. He is crazy athletic, a great defender, rebounds well, plays hard, and always affects the game.
Any team in the league would love to get someone with the talent that Smith has and rightfully so. Teams such as the Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets have all been rumored to show an interest in acquiring Smith from the Hawks.
The Hawks best chance at getting significant talent is through a trade and as of right now their best trade chip is Josh Smith.
3. He's Playing Out Of Position
Josh Smith is the starting power forward for the Atlanta Hawks, but at 6'9" 240lbs he is better suited to play the small forward position. However, his game isn't the same as a prototypical small forwards leaving Smith currently without a defined position.
In Atlanta he's an undersized power forward (playing alongside an undersized center in Al Horford) and even though this is a trend that has started to catch on, the best teams are ones with size and strength along their front line (e.g. Celtics, Magic, Lakers).
In last year’s playoffs, the small-ish front line of the Hawks got dominated by Dwight Howard and the Magic.
2. Marvin Williams Fits a Need More Than Josh Smith
Marvin Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft (over superstar point guards Deron Williams and Chris Paul respectively), is the starting small forward for the Hawks. Williams, unlike Smith, has the game to actually play the small forward position.
Williams is 6'9" 240 like Smith and he has shown that he is more than capable of holding his own against the other great perimeter players in the NBA. Williams is also a better three point shooter (30 percent compared to 26) and a better free throw shooter (80 percent to 66 percent) than Smith is.
Even though Smith may be a bigger contributor to the Hawks success, it makes more sense to keep Williams because he has a set role and Atlanta knows what they will get from him year in and year out.
1. Atlanta Needs a True Center
Al Horford has been the man in the middle for the Hawks since they drafted him in 2007 with the third overall pick.
This season Horford is averaging 15.4 PPG and 9.8 RPG and often battling against other centers who are a few inches taller and a few pounds heavier than him. If the Hawks were able to get a true center and move Horford to his more natural power forward position, those numbers will definitely see an increase.
Smith is Atlanta's best chance at getting a serviceable center in return. If the Hawks could turn Josh Smith into a center like Robin Lopez, Brook Lopez, Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden, Joel Przybilla, Marcus Camby, Samuel Dalembert, Marcin Gortat etc. the Hawks could easily turn into more of a title contender in the East.
Potential Josh Smith Trade Ideas
a.) Atlanta Hawks & Phoenix Suns
Atlanta Trades: Josh Smith, Maurice Evans
Phoenix Trades: Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick & Earl Clark
b.) Atlanta Hawks & Sacramento Kings
Atlanta Trades: Josh Smith, Jordan Crawford, & Maurice Evans
Sacramento Trades: Samuel Dalembert, Jason Thompson, Omri Casspi, & Hassan Whiteside
c.) Atlanta Hawks & Dallas Mavericks
Atlanta Trades: Josh Smith & Maurice Evans
Dallas Trades: Tyson Chandler, Rodrigue Beaubois & Dominique Jones
Brandon Jefferson is a student at High Point University and a Bleacher Report Writing Intern. You can follow him on Twitter @Dotcom_2.