by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

With the NBA’s trade deadline (Feb. 21) bearing down on us, Josh Smith’s name has been finding itself in the rumor mill with growing frequency.

The latest is that Brooklyn and Atlanta have had preliminary talks centered on the talented Hawks forward.

According to ESPN, the Nets are being aggressive in their pursuit of Smoove:

The two teams are engaged in discussions, but one source said while “there has been lots of talk, nothing is close yet.” As the NBA’s Feb. 21 trade deadline nears, Brooklyn is proving to be one of the most active teams in the league. As reported on Friday, sources said the Nets also are talking with the Charlotte Bobcats about a Kris Humphries-for-Ben Gordon trade.

While the Nets certainly want Gordon, sources said acquiring Smith is their higher priority. A trade for Smith would seemingly kill a deal for Gordon, because Humphries is one of the players being discussed with Atlanta. The Nets are willing to give up Humphries and second-year shooting guard MarShon Brooks for Smith. But it almost certainly will take more than a Humphries-Brooks combination to pry Smith away from Atlanta, and one source said the Hawks want Brooklyn’s first-round pick.

According to the report above, Anthony Morrow could be thrown into the deal, and the Hawks are said to want a young center in exchange for Josh Smith. A third team may eventually be needed in order for the rumored trade to happen.

Josh Smith, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, says he’s doing his best to ignore the trade chatter as the deadline looms. Good luck with that.