The Atlanta Hawks are in the best situation a team could possibly be in at the trade deadline. They hold all of the power with their star forward Josh Smith, and will have it for at least another year.
This is true despite the fact that according to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smith wants out of town:
Even as Josh Smith is having a strong season for the Hawks, he has let the team know he wants to be traded as the March 15 deadline approaches, according to people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.
The problem for the rest of the NBA is that Smith is signed through next season. The Hawks are a playoff team right now with plenty of room to spare. So on the surface, there's nothing to gain by the Hawks looking to unload one of their better players.
Granted, that doesn't necessarily mean that they need to hold him at all costs.
That's the beauty of being in complete control in a trade situation. The Hawks can sit back and wait for other teams to call them, seeing if someone makes a classic offer that can't be refused.
If some team is desperate to fill a need that Smith would fill, then they could very well come up with a package that greatly benefits the Hawks. Taking a look at the kind of player Smith is, that is entirely possible.
A 26-year-old power forward with those kind of numbers will bring plenty of value on the trade market. It is not far fetched to think that someone will make a great offer.
But if they don't, Atlanta is not in a desperate situation right now. They can keep him through the season and look to make a trade in the offseason, or any time between now and the trade deadline of 2013.
If this was a "better to get something from him than nothing" situation, then sure. But that won't be the case until at the earliest, this point next year.
Also, who really knows if Smith's issue with Atlanta will still be there in another year? A year is an eternity in sport's terms. They can easily solve whatever issues are there and sign an extension between now and then.
The Hawks can't sit back and say that they won't trade Smith.
Doing so could easily make them pass a fantastic offer. But there is no need to shop him just because he wants to get out of town right now. This is a contending team with a star player locked up for another season.
They hold all the power in these negotiations. They have a great player on the market with no imminent need to trade him.
That is an ideal spot to be in.