It appears that there’s a good chance Josh Smith will no longer be an Atlanta Hawk by the time the NBA trade deadline comes and goes this Thursday.
Another team pinpointed the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks as the strongest contenders to win the Smith sweepstakes. The big worry for both of those teams, though, is whether they could really risk trading for Smith when convincing him to re-sign for the long term is likely to be a serious challenge in either city. Especially with Smith said to be angling for a max deal … and with nobody confusing the Suns or the Bucks with Mikhail Prokohorov’s Nets. Chris Broussard, furthermore, tweeted early Tuesday that the Washington Wizards have made anyone on the roster available for Smith, apart from John Wall, Bradley Beal or Nene Hilario.
NBA front-office sources said that the Boston Celtics have, indeed, registered their interest on the Smith front, with the caveat that they also remain highly interested in the Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe. Yet a Boston deal for Smith, sources said, would almost certainly have to be built around Paul Pierce, because Kevin Garnett isn’t waiving his no-trade clause to go to the Atlanta Hawks if he’s not willing to waive it to go to the Clipperland. And the prospect of Celtics front-office chief Danny Ainge exiling Pierce to the Hawks for Smith, after everything Pierce has done to restore the Celtics to glory over the past half-decade, is still hard to imagine.
Josh Smith is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and given his desire for a max deal (and the Hawks’ reluctance to sign him to such a contract), the chances of him continuing to play in Atlanta beyond this week appear slim.
Stay tuned, as always …