Josh Smith

How much is Josh Smith worth? He thinks he’s a max player.


Josh Smith is a free agent this summer.

He will be one of the biggest names out there — 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds a game, a borderline All-Star level player, a guy with the athleticism and potential to be one of the best bigs in the game. If you’re looking for a big who can run and finish in transition, he’s your guy.

But he’s having a down year (PER of 17.1). He still loves his long jump shots that he doesn’t knock down steadily — Smith takes 6.1 shots beyond 16 feet a game and knocks down 29.5 percent of them, compared to the 4.9 shots a game at the rim where he hits 78 percent (stats via Hoopdata). He gets 22.8 percent of his offensive chances on spot up jumpers and shoots that same 29.5 percent (via Synergy).

So how much would you offer him this summer?

If you’re one of the teams thinking about trading for him at the deadline — the Hawks are listening to offers — you better have an answer for that question. And it needs to be an answer Smith likes.

He thinks he should get a max deal, he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

“I feel like I’m a max player,” Smith said Friday.

“I feel I bring a lot to the table. I have a lot of versatility. For what I do and what I give this ball club, I feel like I’m worth it.”

The Hawks one max contract offer was to Joe Johnson and that was a mistake before the ink was dry on the signature. Under the new CBA this contract can’t be as painful — five years, about $94 million is the max. And unlike Johnson this contract carries Smith though what should be his peak years — ages 28-33 (which is not way over the hill for a big).

But would you give him a max deal?

I’d be hesitant. But teams that need a star are willing to overpay to get what they want, and Smith has the potential to be a franchise anchor. But after nine seasons at age 27, do you expect him to become more than he is now?

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.