Smith, Hawks Headed For Divorce?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — In legal quarters they call it “irreconcilable differences,” the basis for granting dissolution in no-fault divorce states.

Neither Josh Smith nor anyone in the Atlanta Hawks’ front office is willing to publicly admit that their relationship has moved into the realm of “irretrievable,” but some of us recognize the obvious. It’s time for a clean break for both sides.

Smith was tossed out of practice Tuesday, fined and then suspended for Wednesday’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets for conduct detrimental to the team. Smith was suspended by the team earlier in his career for a similar transgression, when he lit into then-Hawks coach and current Knicks coach Mike Woodson, so his critics will surely point to the fact that he has a history of acting out this way.

Sure, he made a statement apologizing and articulating all of the right things:

“Clearly I am competitive and was frustrated by our recent losses,” Smith said in a statement released by the team. “I understand and respect the team’s actions and just want to get back on the court to do whatever is necessary to help my teammates. I apologize for letting them down and apologize to our fans for not being available for tonight’s game.”

But it still doesn’t resolve the lingering issue that has been there from the day this hastily arranged marriage between the enigmatic hometown kid and the beleaguered franchise was consummated on Draft night 2004.

Smith wasn’t supposed to last until the 17th pick that year. But his stock plummeted on the eve of the Draft based on whispers at workouts that he didn’t show up with the best attitude and energy in some places. We all remember what happened on Draft night, when ESPN analyst Jay Bilas smashed him before he could pull that Hawks hat down tight over his head.

Nearly nine years later, Smith has done plenty to prove his doubters wrong. At 27, he’s become one of the most versatile and productive power forwards in the league, a player with All-Star credentials who has never actually made an All-Star team. We could debate the reasons for that another time, say next week when he probably misses out again despite leading his team in scoring (16.5) and blocks (2.3) while also averaging 8.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

His production isn’t the issue. Everything else is. Instead of being a fan favorite, no player sends a more divisive shiver through the Philips Arena crowd than Smith does. The fans don’t agree with his preferred playing style and they’re not afraid to let the world know about it. Any shot of his from outside 12 feet is usually accompanied by a collective groan at the building some like to refer to as the “Highlight Factory.”

A fixture in trade rumors since his second season in the league, Smith, a free agent at season’s end, finds himself smack in the middle of those trade crosshairs once again. His representatives insist that he is not interested in forcing a trade by the Feb. 21 trade deadline. “I want to be clear that I’m not pushing a trade,” Wallace Prather told Ken Berger of “This is not a trade request or anything, but there are frustrations in Atlanta.”

Smith is never going to turn his back on his hometown. He’s never going to come out and proclaim his desire to play elsewhere. And no general manager the Hawks have employed, from Billy Knight (who drafted Smith) to Rick Sund (who refused to come up with a contract for Smith and eventually matched a $58 million offer sheet from the Memphis Grizzlies to keep him in the fold) to current boss Danny Ferry has exhibited any desire in meeting the Smith camp halfway in NBA divorce court.

The Hawks have All-Star big man Al Horford to work with, as well as standout guards in Lou Williams and Jeff Teague. They have a decision to make about the future of coach Larry Drew, whose cause Smith championed when no other Hawks player did when Woodson’s contract wasn’t renewed, as well. The Hawks can take all of the cap space they’ve accumulated and rebuild with or without Smith.

Smith is still young enough to start over somewhere else and continue to play in his prime, working as a productive piece for a playoff team in a city that doesn’t possess the inherent pitfalls of his beloved hometown.

Both sides need a fresh start. That much is obvious to us all.

Now, who has the courage to admit it by Feb. 21?


  1. I’m sorry, but I really don’t see this happening. Good thing, too!

  2. Dr.Championship says:

    Go to the Rockets Baby!

    #2013 Contenders!

    Linsanity could use some Smooves.

  3. Magics says:

    Well, you never know, some GMs might work magics with trades, and some people would love to see magics…
    – JS + others for Rashard Lewis + others
    – JS + others for Hedu Turkoglu + others
    – JS + others for Shawn Marion + others
    – JS + others for Greg Oden + others
    – JS + others for JaVale McGee + others
    – JS + others for Andrew Bogut + others
    – JS + others for Andrew Bynum + others
    – JS + others for Brian Scalabrine + others
    – JS + others for Reggie Evans + others
    – JS for Sir Charles
    – JS for Dennis Rodman

  4. CHINA MAN says:

    Trade him to china

  5. wuffe says:

    How about a 3 team deal .. Marvin Williams and Joe Johnson for J Smoove but only if they will take Horford.

  6. Erwan n says:

    JSmooth for Cousins and AL J goes back to playing PF!!

  7. Chase says:

    Josh Smith should go to the bulls, trading Rip Hamilton and Loul Deng. The Bulls would love to cut Rip’s and Deng’s salary from the team, and get a great post presence with Smith. The Hawks would really need two leaders in Rip and Deng, they also receive a pretty good shooter, and Deng, one of the better wing players in the league. Imagine Smith working in the Bull’s defense, and the dominance of he and Derrick Rose after his return.

  8. LUGA KA says:

    Lakers again??? Geeezzz… Even if trade Pau for Josh… They won’t still win anything…. Before the season starts, faker fans crowning the lakers 2013 champs already… metta says they could break bulls 72-10 record…. (They did, But on losing department) And then Firing Mike Brown, Then want to get rid of D’Antoni and now Pau Gasol???? I must say you fakers fans are all bandwagons.. The league has given everything to you(Nash,Howard)… Now you still want more???? Why don’t you just ask David Stern to give 2013 trophy to the lakers… So that you whiners maybe satisfied….

  9. Grand Plan says:

    I doubt it will happen but im a Rockets fan and would love if they could get Smith for possible Parsons and Patterson

  10. MrNBA says:

    Stay in Atlanta and become a free agent. Sign with Dallas next year for a one year minimum deal because that’s all he’s really worth and that’s all Mavs are offering to anyone. He would look good coming off the bench for Dirk or Matrix. Hell he might even learn something from them. Then maybe he can start really whining about not being an All-Star.

  11. Bob M says:

    Josh Smith for Pau Gasol would be a good move, straight up. The Lakers need an athletic forward that can play D. However, if the Lakers wait too long, someone is going to swoop in and take him.

  12. aaaaaa says:

    Does it matter he will be with the Celtics after this year when his contract is up…..

  13. aj says:

    pau gasol is not a problem with the lakers organization, it is the coach. Let us trade D’ Antoni for Josh Smith. LOL

  14. ATL Fan says:


    That was discussed in the off season, Atlanta was all in for the trade but the Lakers wanted more so the deal fell through. Now looking back, Atlanta got lucky that it did because anyone with eyes could tell you that J Smoove is still more productive.

  15. JLin's Non-existent Beard says:

    Josh Smith for Royce White, who’s with me?

  16. blonju says:

    josh will not be traded. no one watches more hawks’ games than atlanta fans, and even the fans that hate on smoove, are aware of his value. danny ferry is also aware of josh’s value, and the man is not leaving ATL without the hawks becoming a better team. not one trade on this blog makes the hawks better. therefore, as ATLHawksGuy put it “that’s just more cap space for us” if he walks at the end of the season. keep in mind, the hawks only have 18 million committed for next year, and there is absolutely no reason to trade josh for anyone owed a big salary next year – unless it’s quality player of equal caliber, in his prime – which there are none. so, again, i just can’t see danny ferry trading josh, just to trade him. also, if the hawks beat brooklyn tomorrow, and the pacers and bulls lose, these same reeling hawks are right back in the 3 spot in the east. this is all so overblown. let’s get back to rudy gay trade talk, or maybe demarcus cousins needs out of sacramento, again? in fact, i’ll take demarcus for josh, and move Big Al to the 4. that makes more sense than anything on this blog – swap some head cases and give them fresh starts. both teams get “better.” haha

  17. `Abdu'l-Karim says:

    Forget all y’all. Smoove, stay at home. They finally got rid of one of the major problems of the team: iso Joe holding up the ball and cash flow. D12 is available this off season for the 5, Al gets to play at the 4 with you at the three. Lou at the 2 and teague at 1 with Zaza, Ivan and Korver coming off the bench. I know I’m excited about that: much tougher team. Lets do it

  18. longmand says:

    Honestly, i have been hoping for a while that Josh would come available. I’m a huge Jazz fan and I really believe he would be great in Salt Lake. The fan base in UTA is very supportive and the games are extremely electric ( a far cry from the fans of Atlanta-which is no secret.) I think playing with our current roster in front of our fans, would rejuvenate his mentality and his game. if you look at Utah’s roster, you see how well he fits in with the system and the rotation. The Jazz have some great players to offer Atlanta, so I could see this working for both teams.

  19. yunaks_22 says:

    great deal for either team………should go for this one…………….pau for josh… win solution

  20. ronny says:

    i like where your head is at dr dan drungus. but i would suggest a trade to seattle supersonics for Shawn Kemp

  21. Luke Walton says:

    I’ll go to the Hawks for Josh. I can offer a lot of enthusiasm, bench warming and creepy smiles to the team. Please, take me. I could be an all star one day… promise.

  22. Prince says:

    Jordan hill nd pau gasol for josh smith, you hears it here first.

  23. Jimmy Jazz says:

    Smith for Howard

  24. MadDamon Beantown says:

    he woukd fit great in boston with rondo and bradley…nice team if kg and pierce retired

  25. amigo says:

    divorce hawks and go to boston!!!

  26. Dr. Dan Drungus says:

    trade him to the sonics for vin baker

  27. Marcus says:

    lol i like how everyone says one more trade for the Lakers will make them a championship caliber team…. Look josh Smith is clearly overrated and honestly should not even be discussed in this blog… Laker fans please settle with what you have and get over this one more trade for a championship ordeal because it really is irrelevant at this point… They are better off with Gasol. Great basketball IQ and has a great touch for a big man… Smiths upside and only upside is his athletic ability… has a low basketball IQ and i hate when the guy has the ball in his hands its nothing but trouble…. wish all you want to Laker fans…

  28. Murk says:

    Why would anyone in their right mind even consider trading a prime player like Smith, for a washed up aging Pau Gasol its completely idiotic.

  29. Houston Rockeeets says:

    Houston should really get this guy, we need more size on our team. Marcus Morris or Patrick Patterson isn’t gonna do enough and if you have to waive Marcus to clear some cap space for Josh Smith.

  30. JLin's Non-existent Beard says:

    About the only thing the Rockets really need right now is a decent power forward who can set a pick and catch the ball better than Asik.

    • Mike $incere says:

      Finally someone said what we should all be thinking he would be a perfect fit in Houston. With his abilities and game, plus with a coach like McHale would rein him in trade him for PPat and Morris Terrance Jones is available they are all expendable plus cash or draft picks plus the money is there that he would like to stay

  31. Alonzo says:


  32. AtlHawksGuy says:

    Smith for Gasol is never gonna happen. I could see us trading Josh for somebody like Rudy Gay or Eric Bledsoe (with some additional players). Ferry is smart, and hes not just gonna give Josh away. If i had to guess, he’s still gonna be here in Atlanta til the end of the season. If he decides to part ways with us in the offseason, that just more cap space for us.

  33. Bersem says:

    A trade to LA for Gasol would be a good deal for Smith and the Lakers… but just one question : what about Kobe and his friendship with Pau and – ABOVE ALL – what about the coaching ???!!! Ok, Smith would perfectly fit in D’Antoni’s systems (running the offense) and also can defends… but what if D’Antoni decided to change his coaching ? He cannot coach a team like the Lakers (with 2 big men like Howard and Gasol => playing slower) as he did in Phoenix (no true center / PF) ! Then you have the Nets / Sixers for Smith…

  34. J.D13 says:

    Grizzlies, Toronto or Boston

  35. ATL all day says:

    are you people on here requesting josh smith play on their team CRAZY?….this dude leads the league in airballs….how can you be in the NBA and shoot so many of them on a nightly basis….i wanted josh smith to be a corner-piece for ATL but he’s just doesnt get it….one minute he thinks he’s Ray Allen with all the jump shots and next he thinks he’s a point guard…..dude’s Bball IQ is simply not there….he will frustrate the hell outta NY and LA crowds if he was traded to them….simply put, with all the stats he generates every game, theres a reason he’s never been to an all-star game….his good and great plays are nullified by his bone-head plays…..not worth max money…..yall can have em….good luck!

  36. A.J. says:

    The Hawks are doomed with the human Cleveland Cavaliers destroyer Danny Ferry calling the shots, so what’s the difference.

  37. TP09 says:

    Atlanta minus JJ and soon to be Josh Smith= lots of free money and if im not mistaken D12 is free this upcoming season, you get my point

  38. He is a good player and a championship caliber player! sorry to say but the hawks is not the team for him right now, Trade him to the lakers OTHER BENCH PALYER +DUHON, GASOL for joe smith and wing man kyle corver and point guard devin harris hawks have three point guard already ( teauge and lou williams) lakers will surely solve tier problem to that trade! { LALAKERS CHAMPION 2013}

  39. Lebron James says:

    They should trade him for Pau Gasol. No one can beat the lakers come payoff time if he heads to LA. Ive already realized that I will never win another championship in Miami but hey at least Kobe has a few more up his sleeves.

    • Dommy says:

      your lame.

    • Kaleljohann says:

      You should call yourself kobe. Coz you sound like him, not lebron haha

    • Shadowspinner says:

      The Laker’s won’t even make the playoffs so Smith wouldn’t help them that much and they already have enough drama queens, they really don’t need another.

    • Petr says:

      Either you are a creepy fat 35 year old, who plays too many video games, or a kid who just really likes Lebron.In the second case its allright i guess, but unfortunately I have my money on the first one…But than again, Its probably better that you play 2K, and belive that you relly are Lebron, than if you played a First person shooter and had a locker room full of guns…

  40. Kamote says:

    To think that they’ve had the chance to draft CP3 (ouch!). But anyway, the Hawks have reached their ceiling around 2-3 years ago with the JJ, Smith and Horford Big 3. It isn’t enough to win a ring, but a consistent playoff team nonetheless. I guess its time for them to get a new face of their franchise. Both Smith and Horford are immense talents, but I really don’t see them as the franchise type like Duncan, Lebron, Kobe, KD, Rose etc. Now, while both are still young, deals has to be made (for at least one of them) to secure high-draft picks or upcoming superstars, or at least free up some space while acquiring good role players, so they can lure a top free agent in 2-3 years. Just like what they did to JJ, at least one has to go.

    Now, back to almost having CP3… 🙂

  41. William wait some Time says:

    I believe this trade should have been made earlier but lets see if anyone agrees it should be a three way trade between ATL NY and LAL trading Pau or Dwight to ATL sending Amar’e to LAL and NY picking up Josh I can see where you guys may disagree but the trade would settle a lot of turmoil within each organization and just to add a lot of through in’s would make it equal for each team and all the player’s would benefit from this trade but that’s just a thought

  42. Mr.Shourite says:

    Too much is being made of this. I guess you guys need something to talk about. Gessh!

  43. Joe says:

    It would be best to work out some sort of trade for Josh. At least that’s the way it appears to me from the outside looking in. Another extremely talented young man that doesn’t have the necessary level of maturity to put it together in all aspects of the game.

  44. SC III says:

    Smith hasn’t played to his ability since he came in the league. He’s like the guy in open gym with all the fancy hoop gear, but when he starts playing you realize how much he can’t hoop.

    • DeeBee007 says:

      Lol great example i think he should be driving to the rim with a head full of steam everytime kus he has the ability to posterize defenders at least twice a night

  45. Logic says:

    Josh Smith for Rudy Gay

  46. Let me clarify: Pau Gasol for Josh Smith. It’s been talked about and talked about. Time to get ‘er done. Win-win.

    • Shadowspinner says:

      Don’t know if that would help LA much – they already have too many divas. Howard, Kobe, and Smith sounds good on paper, but it also sounds like a recipe for even greater drama in the locker room.

    • James says:

      and some money to the Lakers, and a PG, and a 3pt shooter, and…How many skilled 7footer can you find? How many Josh Smith can you find? Too many

  47. S41gon says:

    Josh for Pau, how about that?

  48. big cat says:

    ive heard reports thers a deal in place to send him to Toronto for bargs and landry fields, raps will make the playoffs when this trade go’s through

  49. Alex Lamar says:

    Great piece Sekou

  50. Dean says:

    Josh Smith to Portland? I think they have some good guys to offer, Hickson and Batum straight up for Smith and another guy like Deshawn or Anthony Morrow. Also it may not be Smith’s destination of choice but the Jazz could make a good offer as well. I say trade him before he leaves without a doubt.

    • Ken says:

      Portland has LA playing 4 and would lose a versatile 3 and a nightly double-double. Don’t think so.

      • Dean says:

        Keep LA at four, Josh Smith is a true small forward don’t forget that. Portland has Myers Leonard for center. Batum is not averaging a double double check his stats.

      • El Undelador says:

        @Dean: JJ Hickson is the player Ken referred to as a nightly double double, although Batum’s stats are very impressive too. He had the first 5×5 game in 4 or 5 seasons a few weeks ago…And there is no way Portland would do this trade. Blazers do not need another PF, nor would they ever dream of trading Batum.

    • jEFF says:

      hahaha! Are you insane. They just signed Batum for a four year MAX contract for a reason. Cause Batum is about to blossom and show his true potential. Notice how his stats are getting better day by day? And with Lamarcus Aldridge at 4, no way they are going to replace him. Josh Smith ain’t a 3 btw, he is more than capable of playing a 4. And giving away J.J Hickson when he puts up nightly, consistent double doubles? Man, give your head a shake.

    • Giddi says:

      Do you really think Batum would agree to be traded to Atlanta? I don’t think so and without his permission, it’s not allowed to trade him until mid July.

  51. kingk says:

    I think that the hawks should just let j-smoove go; it’s just not working out in ATL