Josh Smith

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

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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?

Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)

Gordon Hayward (20), del Jazz de Utah, intenta un enceste ante Thon Maker (7) y Michael Beasley (9), de los Bucks de Milwaukee, en el duelo del viernes 24 de febrero de 2017, en Milwaukee. (AP Foto/Benny Sieu)
AP Foto/Benny Sieu
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Are we obligated to call Gordon Hayward “deceptively athletic”?

The Bucks have something special in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they think they have something special in Thon Maker.

But Hayward jammed all over those two in the Jazz’s 109-95 win last night.

First, he got Antetokounmpo:

Then, he got Maker:

Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jose Calderon #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a called foul during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.

As was expected, the Lakers are now talking about buying out the Spanish national and letting him head to a playoff team for a stretch run, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….

Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.

Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.

Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.

There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.

Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)

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Bobby Portis didn’t enjoy getting blocked by Marquese Chriss. And Portis sure didn’t appreciate how Chriss fell on him.

But it was all worth it (for me, at least) just to see the Bulls forward make a face that reminded me of this:

Dwyane Wade with dagger dunk to seal Bulls win vs. Suns (VIDEO)

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The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.

The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.

The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.