Hawks GM Danny Ferry Expects Josh Smith to Remain in Atlanta

by July 26, 2012

There was talk last season that Josh Smith was unhappy in Atlanta and wanted to be traded, but he seems to have come around, and the Hawks’ new GM Danny Ferry believes Smith will be sticking around the A for a little while longer. From the AJC: “The new Hawks haven’t played a game. Yet, Ferry enjoys a level of popularity that Pete Babcock, Billy Knight and Rick Sund never attained. Locating a Russian billionaire to assume $90 million of your team’s payroll can do wonders for a general manager’s Q score. At least in the short term — and assuming Dwight Howard isn’t walking through that door – there’s really only one major decision left for Ferry to make in the short term. And that’s: What to do with Josh Smith? The likely answer for now appears to be nothing. Smith, tired of being singled out for blame when things go wrong and yearning to compete for a championship, told the Hawks last year he wanted out. But much has changed since then. Ferry replaced Sund. He arrived with a ‘more objective view’ of where the Hawks were. He was given autonomy to make needed changes. Ferry will tell you that he ‘didn’t come in looking to’ trade [Joe] Johnson, but the opportunity presented itself (and he pounced). But Smith is a different story. Ferry likes him — a lot. ‘He’s a really good player,’ Ferry said. ‘I love his ability to pass the ball. I love his ability to make game-changing plays defensively. I love his competitiveness. If I was out there playing, I would want Josh on my team.’ But does Smith want to be here? He wasn’t available for comment Tuesday, but Ferry said he has met with him twice. ‘He’s excited for next season,’ he said. ‘We haven’t really gone in that direction with him [on roster plans]. But we’ve talked about how we’re going to play. We’ve talked about other players. His ideas, my ideas. I’m just trying to establish a relationship.’ Smith has only one year left on his contract. While he reportedly has softened his stance on a trade request, he publicly has given no indication yet that he’s looking to re-sign here. He is coming off the best season of his career (18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds), taking on more responsibility after Al Horford’s injury, even with the occasional ‘Josh’ moment. […] Ferry has a vision for the Hawks next season, and Smith is a part of that. They’ll run more. They’ll have to, given the lack of size. They’re a guard-heavy team, with moves that brought in Devin Harris, Anthony Morrow, Louis Williams, Kyle Korver and rookie John Jenkins. ‘The ball will be in Devin Harris’ hands a lot and Jeff Teague’s hands a lot. We’ll have space for them to attack the rim. We’ll play through Josh a little more. We’ll use Josh and Al to pick-and-roll or post up. We’ll be fun to watch.’”