Report: Hawks taking trade offers for Josh Smith

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Josh Smith has been among the names most frequently mentioned in trade rumors this season. It’s not because he can’t play or that his current Atlanta Hawks team no longer wants him.

The problem is, they no longer want him at the price he’s likely to command this summer.

Smith will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and Atlanta has reportedly been willing to extend him for somewhere in the neighborhood of $45 million over three years.

But Smith believes he’s a max player, and has turned down the extension offer while preferring to play out this season and see if he can get a bigger deal in free agency, perhaps with someone else.

The Hawks would prefer not to lose a player like Smith without compensation, so naturally, they’re willing to listen to trade offers.

From David Aldridge of NBA.com:

The Atlanta Hawks are entertaining trade offers around the league for forward Josh Smith, but have yet to decide whether they will deal the ninth-year forward, according to league sources.

The Hawks met with Smith’s representatives this week, at which point the team indicated it was not willing to give Smith a max contract after this season, according to a source.

Smith, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution late last month that he believes he’s a max player, which would mean he’d be in line for a five-year deal worth around $94 million from Atlanta.

But the Hawks, which expect to be major players next summer in free agency or through trades, do not want to tie up that kind of money going forward.

Smith is a nice player, with an athletic skill set that can help teams on both ends of the floor. But is he capable of being your number one franchise guy?

That’s what teams bidding for Smith’s services will have to determine if they’re willing to give up legitimate assets this season to get him, because with the current salary cap and luxury tax implications teams are dealing with in the face of the most recent collective bargaining agreement, most clubs can’t afford to tie up that kind of cash in a player who’s going to be the second or third most important piece on a championship caliber squad.