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.