Hawks forward Smith walks on the court during their game against the Miami Heat in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Atlanta

Josh Smith is back in Atlanta, thinking over his future


While the spotlight has firmly been on Dwight Howard and his meetings with teams, Josh Smith was in Los Angeles too, talking to teams pursuing him.

Smith, arguably the second best free agent still on the market this summer, spoke with Detroit, who was rumored to want to make a big offer to him. There were talks with Houston, which is contemplating pairing him with Howard if they land him. Boston has been mentioned, even though that doesn’t make a ton of sense for them. Atlanta is expected to make an offer to keep him. There were others.

While the spotlight followed Dwight Howard to the Rocky Mountains as he was thinking about his options, Smith planned to spend the Fourth of July and the weekend at home thinking about his next play.

Smith has said he wants a max contract but apparently so far that has not been forthcoming. He averaged 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game plus is a good defensive forward. There’s a lot to like. The biggest drawback is he doesn’t play to his strengths — he’s a beast inside five feet but has a penchant for jump shots he does not make that often.

Smith’s best play may be to wait until Howard makes his move (that could be Friday) then see how the market shifts for him. If Howard chooses Houston that may become an option. Otherwise, teams that miss out on Howard might make a run. Bottom line is as teams become a little more desperate his options may increase.

But it still may not get him the max deal he wants. Teams are more cautious with the new CBA. But either way Smith is home thinking it over.

Gordon Hayward goes behind Jordan Clarkson’s back with dribble

Gordon Hayward, Nick Young
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Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.

First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.

Three quick takeaways here:

1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.

2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.

3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.

(Hat tip reddit)

Could Tristan Thompson’s holdout last months? Windhorst says yes.

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five

VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”

That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.

Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:

“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”

Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.

And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.