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…
“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.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.