Could the high flying Josh Smith be playing with Dwight Howard?
The latest in trade speculation for Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks shows that he will likely be moved. However, who are the front runners to acquire the lefty big man? Recent reports have linked him with many teams, but who will benefit the most from a player that can energize an entire arena with his stupendous dunking ability?
In a recent article by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the writer stated, "Smith hasn't requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him." Any of those teams could acquire Smith and would instantly become a younger and more athletic team.
In this article we will look at the three most likely destinations where Smith could end up by next season. As an impact player, Smith would be a great addition to any team; with his size and athleticism, he is a nightmare to defend, and he could be a valuable asset to many teams.
A Brook Lopez and Josh Smith swap could be a possibility.
The New Jersey Nets are a team looking to get attention as they make their move to a new Brooklyn arena. With a superstar point guard in Deron WIlliams and a billionaire owner willing to pay, this may be an ideal situation for Smith.
With Williams playing the passing lanes and Smith slashing and cutting, the duo could become an explosive treat for New Jersy fans and is sure to sell tickets.
The logistics, however, would involve the Nets losing one of their more valued players in Brook Lopez. Lopez was drafted as the franchise player, and unlike other young centers in the league, he has remained completely healthy throughout his NBA career.
The proposed trade would likely involve a combination of Brook Lopez and Travis Outlaw and the Lakers' first-round draft pick for Josh Smith and possibly another player through the Nets' trade exception.
This trade would give New Jersey a great tandem in Smith and Williams, making them a very fast-break-oriented team that could run the floor with the best of them. For the Hawks, on the other hand, they take away a player in Smith who hasn't had much chemistry with the organization and get a good, young big man who can score.
Could the Hawks trade with the magic?
In one of the more interesting possibilities, the Orlando Magic have also been linked to Josh Smith trade rumors.
The two teams squared off this past postseason with the Hawks defeating the Magic in six games. The short playoff run was frustrating for a Magic team that was looking to contend for the championship. Dwight Howard, the franchise center, was left without much help, as the role players around him wilted under the pressure.
The pressure is on the Hawks now as they look to move Josh Smith due to his attitude issues with the team.
The trade scenario that has been linked with these teams is only speculation at this point and would involve a third team in the NBA Finals champion Dallas Mavericks. The Hawks would move Smith and Kirk Hinrich to the Magic. They would be getting back Jameer Nelson, Ryan Anderson and Daniel Orton of the Magic as well as Brendan Haywood and Rick Beaubois of the Mavericks. Dallas would get back Marvin Williams and filler.
This potential blockbuster trade would change the landscape of the NBA in the Southeast division. The two teams would essentially swap playing styles in this trade. The Hawks would become more perimeter-oriented, and the Magic would get an athletic second option for Dwight Howard.
Playing alongside Howard on a contending team could finally allow the potential that Josh Smith has shown to fully develop. The chemistry between the two would exist from the get-go, as Howard played AAU ball with Smith and has been good friends with him for quite some time.
The Mavericks, a key player in the trade, would lose size and youth in Haywood and Beaubois but would gain a legitimate scoring threat in Williams, who is capable of scoring 12 to 15 points a night and could form a good tandem with Jason Kidd and possibly J.J. Barea (if he is re-signed).
This trade is definitely interesting and could yield positive results for all the teams.
Smith could be alongside Kevin Garnett if this deal goes down.
Although this may seem to be one of the more far-fetched possibilities, the Boston Celtics may be looking to get Josh Smith.
With an aging team and a rapidly closing playoff window for the Celtics, this may be the time to capitalize on a young player that could mesh with Rajon Rondo and keep the team in contention. It seems like Danny Ainge may have to do whatever he can to get one last hurrah for this Celtics team.
The most likely offer would probably consist of something involving players like Jermaine O'Neal and filler, but something else may be in the works. The Hawks would love to get someone like Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett.
In a recent article by Gethin Coolbaugh, he writes, "Hawks general manager Rick Sund is a big fan of Garnett and Allen, so if the deal were to go down, it's safe to assume that one or both of those players would likely be on the move."
The gut reaction to trading any of the members of the Big Three would normally be a complete rejection by anyone who would even be willing to hear out the proposition, but that may be the Celtics' next move. NBA speculators are looking at the possibility of moving Ray Allen, who is set to make $10 million next season and has a player option on his contract.
From a sentimental standpoint, it is a tough move to make, and in my opinion the Celtics shouldn't attempt to move a player like Allen, who means so much to the chemistry of the Celtics. However, if reports do come to fruition and Allen is moved, there does exist a new dynamic on the Celtic team.
In Smith, Rondo gets a running mate to spread the floor and run the fast break, and Garnett gets a fellow defensive-minded player. Although they would be losing a clutch outside shooter in Allen, Smith would make the team younger.
In my opinion, if the Celtics can somehow manage to get Smith without trading away Allen, perhaps by involving a third team, they can become very strong championship contenders. This is a crucial point that Ainge must pay critical attention to. If he can steal Smith away from the Hawks and keep his Big Three intact, the Celtics become more dangerous than they perhaps have ever been in the past four years.
However, if they cannot convince the Hawks to move Smith, they must decide whether the aging squad has enough to make another title run next year or if Smith is worth losing the beloved Ray Allen.
Although Smith may end up staying in Atlanta or even moving somewhere completely different than these three options, the teams that do acquire him have a lot to gain. We can only wait and see where he will end up and whether or not he will be a good fit there.
Where do you think Josh Smith will fit in best, and why? Comment below.
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