Josh Smith has been a borderline All-Star for years in Atlanta but that is different from being happy — he feels he is the scapegoat of the Hawks problems among the fans and media. He doesn’t feel like he has the backing of the organization or that they do things like promote him as an All-Star.
Even as Josh Smith is having a strong season for the Hawks he has let the team know he wants to be traded as the March 15 deadline approaches, according to people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking….
As the trade deadline approaches, the Hawks have taken calls from teams interested in acquiring Smith—Golden State is among the teams who have inquired. But the Hawks so far have given no indication that they intend to part with Smith, who likely would command a high price in a trade.
Smith is making $12.4 million this season and a fully guaranteed $13.2 million next season. That may make him challenging to move as teams have been slow to take on salary at the trade deadline due to the new CBA. That said, there are not a lot of big men as productive as Smith so there will be interest.
Smith should have made the All-Star team this year and is averaging 16.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. He’s athletic and can run the floor and might fit best with a team that takes advantage of that. Smith is a force around the rim who has an unfortunate addiction to shooting long two pointers — he is taking six shots a game between 16 feet and the arc this season and hitting just 31 percent of them. He’ll take about one three a game too even though he is shooting 28 percent on those.
There certainly would be interest in Smith, if not at the deadline then next summer. With it sounding like he wants out the Hawks will need to move him before next year’s trade deadline or risk getting nothing for him. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get moved in the next six days.
The Hawks have been active, however, looking for a taker for Kirk Hinrich as well, according to multiple reports.
Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma trolling now in ad for Wish shopping app
For three seasons, Briante Weber has bounced around the fringes of the NBA. The defensive-minded point guard has played in short stints (often 10-day contracts) for the Grizzlies, Heat, Warriors, Hornets, and last season he got in 13 games for the Rockets (plus five in Memphis). He’s spent most of his career in the G-League, working for his chance to get in the door.
Miami is bringing him into training camp, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Guard Briante Weber has agreed to a partially guaranteed deal to return to the Miami Heat, league sources tell Yahoo.
There is roster space in Miami if Webber blows them away. Miami has 12 fully guaranteed roster spots and, with Webber, two partially-guaranteed deals (Malik Newman, who was undrafted out of Kansas, is the other).
Rather than a potential rebuild — or another “Russell Westbrook vs. The World” season — the Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the big winners of the off-season when Paul George agreed to re-sign with the team. They also moved on from Carmelo Anthony, will get Andre Roberson back from injury, and added Dennis Schroder to give them a shot creator off the bench.
“I’m very, very excited. Paul has been an unbelievable teammate, obviously a great friend. I’m very, very excited that he is back and we’re ready to make some noise. We are just going to take it one day at a time. I think our team has a lot of great, young talent. We have one goal now and that is winning a championship.”
While it’s hard to envision the Thunder reaching that goal (as constructed), the Thunder could well be the three or four seed in the West and have home court in the first round of the playoffs. While the margin for error in the West will be minuscule (with 12 teams having a shot at the eight playoff spots), with the Thunder’s strong top-10 defense and two stars who can take over games nightly, they should be one of the more consistent regular season teams in the West.
Either way, the Thunder are a lot more interesting with George than without. It’s going to be a good season for the Thunder.
PBT Extra: Carmelo Anthony officially a Houston Rocket now — this can work
Did the Houston Rockets get better this summer? The conventional wisdom is no, they will miss the switchable defense and versatility of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute against the NBA’s other elite teams.
But with Carmelo Anthony officially signing with the Rockets on Monday, don’t expect a big step back, something I cover in this latest PBT Extra.
The Rockets had the second-best offense in the NBA last season (almost tied with the Warriors) and ‘Melo can enhance that — he can still punish switches in the post, he has a catch-and-shoot game, and while he may not be as efficient as he once was, the man can get buckets. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, expect Mike D’Antoni to find him minutes while Chris Paul and James Harden rest where he can be an offensive focal point.