ATLANTA – Josh Smith walked through the door to the Atlanta Hawks’ practice court, flashed a quick smile and walked to the opposite end of the floor just minutes before he and his teammates took to the floor.
That means as of this morning he is still a member of the Hawks. How long that lasts, however, remains to be seen. The Hawks are sorting through the offers they have on the table for Smith and still trying to decide if they are indeed going to move the nine-year veteran before today’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
After the Hawks’ home loss to the Heat Wednesday night, Smith said he’ll just be glad to have the deadline behind him, no matter what happens.
“I think it will be a relief for all the questions I keep answering,” he said. “Whether it happens or not, I’m going to still play hard. This organization gave me so much over the years. They gave me a chance to (live) my dream, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has refused to talk about any trade speculation, particularly anything regarding Smith. But Ferry, according to sources, is weighing options that include trading Smith within the conference (to either Milwaukee or Brooklyn) or to a Western Conference team, which is the Hawks’ preferred move.
The one wild card in the equation is Boston, which, according to a source, is willing to include Paul Pierce in a potential deal. But the Hawks have been lukewarm on the idea of getting Pierce, who has played his entire career in Boston, and his $15 million salary next season. Using Rajon Rondo in a deal to get Smith would make no sense for Boston, if they are interested in keeping the Hawks’ free-agent-to-be this summer. Rondo and Smith are good friends and played together at Oak Hill Academy as high school seniors.
The Phoenix Suns remain an option in the Western Conference, according to sources, and posses some of the assets (draft picks and players like Marcin Gortat) that could interest the Hawks.
But the Hawks’ main objective is the preservation of the cap space they created by trading Joe Johnson (to Brooklyn) and Marvin Williams (to Utah) last summer. With plans to pursue other free agents, like Dwight Howard, the Hawks won’t do anything to hinder that process today.
There is still a chance that the Hawks hold on to Smith and ride out the remainder of this season with their roster intact. And if they did that, the two sides would simply part ways amicably this summer.