Josh Smith Talks Staying, Leaving Atlanta

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DALLAS – Don’t think Josh Smith is just waiting to bolt Atlanta, the only city he’s known for the vast majority of his 27 years. He has a wife there, two young children, a home, good friends and one very personal chauffeur.

“I love driving to the games with my father, each and every home game,” Smith said Monday night after he continued to grab the attention of general managers across the league with a 26-point, 13-rebound, six-assist performance to push the Hawks to a road win over the Dallas Mavericks. “Every home game, my dad drives me to the arena. He gives me his assessments after each and every game. With the exception of myself criticizing my game, he’s the next person in line.”

Pete Smith won’t find much to criticize in the 105-101 win. His son went 10-for-15 from the floor, canned a season-high-tying four 3-pointers on five attempts, including a huge one with 1:29 to go for a 99-94 lead. OK, so he did have five turnovers and missed a pair of late free throws before making two with 22.2 seconds to go.

“I have to wait for his texts,” Josh Smith said. “I know he’s probably texted me two or three times, a long paragraph about whatever he feels like I did, but it’s always something. It’s all good. That’s my dad.”

And that’s hard to leave. But if Smith is traded, he is ready for that, too. It is Atlanta general manager Danny Ferry‘s call to make by the Feb. 21 trade deadline. The Brooklyn Nets, according to reports, are pushing the hardest.

“I will say there is a lot invested,” said Smith, who has gone on a tear over the last nine games. “I was born and raised there, spent my whole childhood and my whole life there. I will say it’s a big investment.” But, Smith continued, “Once you understand as a player that this is a business and you don’t take anything personal, you kind of worry about just playing basketball.”

After dropping three of four, including an 11-point home loss Friday to New Orleans, Atlanta improved to 28-22 with Monday’s win. The Hawks are searching for the spark that sent them to a 20-10 start as they’ve fallen to sixth in the East, two games behind third-place Indiana (and just one game in the loss column).

The Hawks are positioned for a sixth consecutive trip to the playoffs in Smith’s ninth season, but the question is if this team is built to make a legitimate run at the Miami Heat for the East crown.

“I’m not sure; that’s going to be interesting,” center Al Horford said. “It’s one of those things that can be frustrating, because when you see the potential of our team in a game like tonight it makes you wonder. So it’s going to be one of those things that management is going to have to make a decision and see what they feel like.”

Monday’s win showed both the potential — five players scoring in double figures and three with 20 points or more, plus dominant board work — as well as the flaws. The Hawks also had 18 turnovers, many careless, and showed an inability to maintain leads.

For Ferry, the decision will have ramifications well beyond this season’s potential. He can trade his 6-foot-9, 225-pound leading scorer and second-leading rebounder and acquire players to build around; or risk losing Smith for nothing to the highest bidder this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. If he remains, Smith said he’ll give full consideration to re-signing with the Hawks.

Of course, further complicating the decision is the Dwight Howard factor. Howard, like Smith, is from Atlanta. They’re the same age and good friends. Ferry unloaded Joe Johnson‘s contract on Brooklyn last July to create cap space to sign Howard to a max deal.

To convince Howard, it would make sense for Smith be there.

“I don’t know, it might be an enticing thought process for [Howard] to be there if I’m there,” Smith said. “You never know. This league is unpredictable, players are definitely unpredictable, so you never know what future lies ahead of us.”

Smith said he and Howard have not talked recently and have never discussed their futures in much detail.

“You know, he’s going through a rough stretch right now, so I like giving people their space when they’re going through situations so they can be able to just try to work it out,” Smith said. “Whenever he needs my advice I’ll be there for him. We haven’t really necessarily talked about anything as of right now, so I’m pretty sure he’s just trying to get back healthy, trying to get his timing back. I’m just trying to focus on what I’m doing as far as getting better as a player and trying to be as successful as possible for this team.”

The next move belongs to Ferry.

39 Comments

  1. Mr. Wilson says:

    There isnt really a team out there who really needs to, can or wants to get a josh smith type player. the fact that he would basically would be a rental for half a sesaon and then could end up goin somewhere else is a major turn off for any team, thats why it took so long for a dwight deal to be made. In my opinion i dont see Josh moving this season

  2. GSW Man says:

    The only team that can afford a max contact and not go over the cap is Houston, and JSmooth plus The Beard would be Linsane, so I’m all for it.

  3. karoLT says:

    Josh Smith belongs in ATLANTA, this is his team n im sure Dwight might really consider joining him next season to revive his career…

  4. yeah and i think Howard will average about 13 or 14 pts. per game and 10.4 reb. and 1.8 blk. while horford will average just. 11 pts. 9.3 reb. and 0.9 blk while j-smoove will average 11.2 pts. and 7 reb. and 1 blk…. if this trade will happen. why? because the 3 of them are getting the most of their scores in the paint… ao good luck if this will happen

  5. big cat says:

    I heard the raps have offered AB andrea bargnani and landry fields for smith and the hawks are listening , the raps starting five would be lowry , derozan , gay , smith , valenciunas , the most athletic team in nba history by chance??? they would make lobcity’s act look like d – league tom foolery LOL

  6. sam says:

    i hope he stays in atlanta, thats their center piece to build around. if he does get traded then i can see going to brooklyn for lopez and a draft pick. i think brooklyn would be stupid to trade lopez though.

  7. yoables says:

    It’s a terrible to trade Josh away. I think they just need to improve the players around him. Also, they need to play with more of a sense of urgency.

  8. Annonamous says:

    So if Atl. wants to get rid of Josh Smith ill gladly take him in INdy for granger / draft pick / and either Tyler or Green
    would move Paul George to the 2 spot….so starting 5 would be Hill / George / Smith / West / Hibbert…Sounds like a championship team to me!!

  9. Hong Kong says:

    I think Josh Smith worth 8 years, totally $10 billion contract.

  10. JOSE says:

    NEVER HAVE LIKE AL GAME HIS A CRY BABY

  11. Lean Christian says:

    Pau Gasol to atlanta . josh smith to lakers. napp said!

  12. JuanTee says:

    Josh has two kids with his wife, and other kids with other woman. Im not sure how many kids he has had since he’s been married, but I do know he has several others not mentioned in the article.

  13. WILKSY08 says:

    Oh and everyone talking about Pau- that won’t happen. Kobe said that as long as he is a laker he will do everything in his power to keep Pau with him. Anyway is Smith really the answer for L.A? They already have one overgorwn child, they dont need another one

  14. Alex says:

    Josh Smith for Pau Gasol is a horrible trade. Pau gasol doesn’t fit the system and he is not producing this year. Pau gasol also stays HURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. WILKSY08 says:

    JAKE- Its not a bad trade seeing as they will lose Smith in free agency and the only team aggressively pursuing Smith is Brooklyn. Boston wont trade for him, Ainge has already said that in an interview. Sorry Boston Fans. Smith needs a reality check- he’s like Howard- big ego, terrible etticate. After an already long career he shouldnt act the way he does. That’s why many teams don’t want him, and why he wasnt an All-star again this year. He plays like an all-star but acts like a toddler. In his time he hasnt done ANYTHING to deserve max money. Its time he moved on and Atlanta deserve to get at least something in return

  16. hot.trod.87 says:

    James Harden “I’ll do a little bit of recruiting during the All-Star break, but my main focus is on just trying to get this team focused ….. What has Al Horford and Joe Johnson done in the last 3 to 5 years to bring us anyone here.. James Harden gets it, they didn’t. I think Josh is the wrong person to offer up. he’s the most healthiest free agent out here…look at Dwight, Chris Paul, & Bynum. healthier than Al who is coming off a season ending injury ( like Dwight), yet Dwight has more lift to block shots at the rim.Dwight still has lift around the basket, Al has really NOTHING around the basket. All he has is his mid range jumpers and went that’s not effective, he isn’t much use as you can tell by the Hornets vs. hawks game. Could barely contain Lopez playing center and had 2 points and 2 rebounds at the half.

  17. MrDetroit says:

    It’s obvious Atlanta has no interest in Smith anymore. Like the great MIKE DITKA said “there is no loyalty in sports anymore”. Smith has been great to the city of atlanta and the the Hawks franchise. He has PRODUCED his entire career. Atlanta has included this man in trade rumors for the past 5 yrs and im getting sick of it. Trade the man somewhere he is welcomed and wanted.

    Now to the trade: If you are trying to rebuild in ATL, why trade a 27 yr all-star for a 32 yr old who is at the end of his career. Makes no sens if your are trying REBUILD and WIN. Smith is better than gasol FLAT OUT. poor trade! (2) If you trade Smith for AL Jefferson, YOU ARE GETTING THE SAME PLAYER and nothing will change in they’re system. (3) Smith for Lopez/Humphries and brooks is really the only good scenario here. Nets will get the inside help and rebounding they need and ATL will get young productive stars. However, this could potentially lead to the NETS being hit with 4 MAX CONTRACTS. not good. Especially when the nets need a back-up PG

    Lastly, If smith can REMAIN CONSISTENT he’ll be just find whereever he goes. But dont just trade him just to trade him (hint: MEMPHIS GRIZZLES)

    • knightrider1755 says:

      Don’t believe Brooklyn would include Brook Lopez in a trade for Josh Smith. A combination of Humphries and Marshon Brooks and a first round pick makes good sense.

    • Annonamous says:

      when you say hint: Memphis Grizz….are you speaking of the Rudy Gay trade or Pau Gasol?

      • MrDetroit says:

        Annonamous im speaking of the Rudy Gay trade.

        Memphis is a young team on the rise and trading Gay was a MOVE BACKWARDS in my opinion. Especially when you FINALLY got the chance to experience a developed PG in Conley (who has improved at his position every year he’s been in the league) and MOST IMPORTANTLY, finally got the chance to experience a healthy front court with Gasol, Randolph and Gay.

        What memphis received from the trade, was crumbs compared to the versatility Gay brought to memphis and the problems they’re front court caused opposing teams.

    • Annonamous says:

      Well sadly i feel that all your points are extremely strong….living here in Memphis the ownership is split among like 5 different people and we couldnt keep 3 BIG contracts….Gay / Gasol / Z-Bo … and im not 100% how much Conley makes but im sure hes not on a minimum contract…..so seeing that we didnt have Gay at all during last years playoffs and we were 1 game away from the Western Finals they felt like Gay was the weakest link out of the big 3….but saying we got cump change for Gay is kind of dumb seeing your name is Mr Detroit you should know all about Prince….He is a fantastic players and Austin Daye looks like he has tons of potential

      • MrDetroit says:

        Born and raised in Detroit, so i know all about Piston B-ball. Been a fan since birth. Half of my family lives in the city of Memphis, some in Cordova also. S i’ve followed memphis as well my friend.

        My “crumbs” statement i felt wasnt dumb. YOU ARE SPEAKING AS IF MEMPHIS RECEIVED THE 04′ ERA, CHAMPIONSHIP TAYSHAUN PRINCE. Thats not the case here. TAY is and always will be a blue collar, PROFESSIONAL. i love and respect everything about him and his career sa a piston (DONT GET THAT TWISTED). Now lets get to the point here (IN MY STEPHEN A SMITH voice) Tayshaun, right now, is half of what rudy gay is…DAYE hasnt proved anything in the league. Honestly Daye is the exact same player as Tayshaun BUT with with a lesser defensive presence! (TELL ME IM WRONG HERE???)

        now to reference ur last sentence “Prince fantastic player and daye lots of potential”….SO ARE YOU TELLING ME you want to go from being a championship contending team to a team that has “TONS OF POTENTIAL”?? man get outta here! THATS MOVING BACKWARDS. you can not sit up here an say this was a good trade. You have got to be the only person who is happy with the trade.

        The past 2 yrs the Grizzlies have had the city and the fans on the edge of they’re seats because they have been so close to making it. END OF POINT HERE….they didnt get back what they gave away. FLAT OUT

      • 34yr fan says:

        Hey, MR Detroit !! The way your team trades I would NOT be giving ANY advice to anyone….lol It is well know that as a player , #4 was awesome…..but as a GM….Well????? Not so much. PS: The Rudy guy is OVERRATED…..that is why he ended up in no-mans land north of the border….just a fact…. that time will, AGAIN, prove right !!

      • MrDetroit says:

        34yr FAN – AM I THE GM OF THE PISTONS OR THE PRESIDENT OF BASKETBALL OPERATIONS? i thought not

        Im here just voicing my thoughts on the trade, just as well as Annonamous. We are fans having a conversation. Neither of us are Gm’s guy

        lastly, you saying Rudy is overrated is your opinion. You’re entitled to that

  18. Miamifan says:

    Great if Brooklyn gets josh smith then they will end up getting Howard too. :-)

  19. charlie says:

    its his chance to be the star of that.. why leave atlanta?

  20. yanix says:

    josh smith to pau gasol is good.

  21. yanix says:

    its very nice to trade josh smith to pau gasol…

  22. Kimmy says:

    Dwight Howard will not go to Atlanta. Josh Smith wants out. He’s palying like he wants out. Too bad so sad. In a dream world, Lou Williams would be healthy, the Atlanta Hawks would pay and extend Josh Smith’s contract, Joe Johnson would still be there, Josh Smith will step up his game, and Dwight Howard gets traded to Atlanta, like yesterday! Go Hawks!!!!

  23. WILKSY08 says:

    Trade him asap. He wants max money, they wont give him a five year deal so it makes sense for both parties. They will lose him in free agenct to teams with more money than sense, so they may as well get something for him now. The Brooklyn offer of Humphries, Brooks and a pick sound good to me

  24. Karlo Garcia says:

    Josh Smith would b good in Utah if Utah decides to trade Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap.

  25. JPacer33 says:

    I hope he stays in Atlanta he belongs there, and what will Atlanta do without him?

  26. carlo says:

    First of all, Smith is a great player but not a MAX player.. Smith and Harris for Jeff Green and Lee is a more sensible trade

  27. Karl says:

    If Smith decides to stay, Howard will have to go to his hometown Atlanta. It’s a shame that D12 prefers money and fame if not Atlanta will be an amazing team in the next season. Imagine this team: Williams-Korver-Smith-Horford-Howard.
    I’m an Orlando’ fan. I always said that Lou Williams and Howard would be an interesting duo.

  28. amitpal says:

    Ok I understand Brooklyn owner is a multibillionaire who could really less about money cuz he has so much of it, but wouldnt having four max contracts be just way to much. The nets want josh smith and josh smith wants a max contract after this season. On the nets right now deron williams has a max joe johnson has a max and brook lopez has the max he can get after rookie contract. On top of that gerald wallace has a little pver 10 million a year. Can they really afford josh smith? If this deal goes through I cant wait to see the nets tax next year.