Utah Jazz v Atlanta Hawks

Josh Smith frustrated, suspended. Does that mean he’s on trade block?


There was a lot of frustration around the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday — the team had lost seven of their last nine games, their defense had been terrible and their offense had followed suit the last couple games.

That frustration bubbled over in practice Tuesday, when Josh Smith was thrown out of practice and later suspended for Wednesday’s game against the Nets.

All that led to Smith’s agent flying out to speak to the Hawks on Wednesday, reports Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. There has been buzz before that Smith wanted out of Atlanta, but his agent said he didn’t demand a trade. Of course, if there was one…

“As far as moving forward and whatever changes will be made, that’s more so management’s job to field those calls and make the decisions they feel like are best to move forward,” Smith’s agent, Wallace Prather, told CBSSports.com….

“I do know there are teams interested,” Prather said….

Multiple rival executives confirmed that the Hawks have participated in trade conversations with several teams regarding Smith, a 27-year-old game-changing defender when engaged

There was always going to be a lot of Smith trade talk because he is a quality big man in the last year of his contract. Hawks GM Danny Ferry is clearly looking to shake things up rather than keep Atlanta’s middle-of-the-road roster together, so you know he’ll be listening to offers.

That said, any team trading for him certainly would want to re-sign him this summer and might be hesitant to make a deal if they didn’t have some assurance they could likely keep him.

For teams like Dallas, getting Smith might make sense. They want an elite player to pair with Dirk Nowitizki now and this summer’s big name free agents — Chris Paul, Dwight Howard — are not likely to be on the move. Trading for then re-signing Smith could be the kind of big move they need. Same with teams like Houston or Milwaukee.

The question is do they think Smith is really good enough to be that guy and would he be worth what they have to pay in a new contract? At age 27 he is entering what should be the prime of his career, he is averaging 16.7 points and 8.4 rebound a game. What is he worth?

We’ll find out because you can bet there is a lot of Josh Smith trade talk to come soon.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.