If you are taking preseason bets on “guy to show up in the most trade rumor posts” on your favorite message board, Josh Smith would be a good call.
For example, look at this one from Boston already. (By the way, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley and a first round pick for Smith is a horrible trade for Boston. That’s an Isiah Thomas trade if you throw in an over-the-hill player to give a max deal to.)
But there are going to be a lot of Smith rumors because: 1) GM Danny Ferry is clearly thinking retooling in Atlanta; 2) Smith is already a trade rumor favorite; 3) Smith can play — 18.8 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game and a PER of 21.1 — and is entering his prime at age 26; 4) Smith is in the final year of his contract; and finally…
The Hawks are not likely to be extending Smith. So Ferry told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“I’ve been clear that I value Josh as a player,” Ferry told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He has worked hard this summer and I believe he is going to have great season. I’ve been in contact with his representatives. Josh and his representatives have been clear that he is excited about the direction of the team and wants to be part of the future in Atlanta. That being said, I don’t expect the contract situation to be resolved until next summer.”
This delay is as much Smith as the Hawks — like Andrew Bynum and Chris Paul and all the other big name free agents this year, Smith can make more money by opting out then re-signing with the Hawks. Smith would be an unrestricted free agent with a lot of offers (hello Dallas!) but the Hawks would be able to always offer more if they wanted to keep him (and he wanted to stay).
As for the rumors, Ferry would trade Smith for the right deal, but the front line of Smith and Al Horford is not something you break up if you think you can put the right pieces around it. Meaning this is not a given, you are going to have to give value for Smith, this is no fire sale.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.