Atlanta forward Josh Smith is reportedly on the move by 3 p.m. tomorrow’s deadline. After telling him that they would not offer him a maximum contract, Atlanta’s front office is looking to take a page out of Orlando’s book from Dwight Howard, and bring back valuable pieces for their star rather than losing him to free agency. Smith has had a superb year averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, potentially raising ATL’s asking price, as a deal has yet to be done. As a caveat on the deal, teams interested will want Smith to confirm that he will re-sign when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.
As we get closer to Smith’s departure in the next 24 hours, here are the top 5 realistic scenarios in which Smith is dealt, from both a financial and team chemistry standpoint upon his arrival.
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5. PHILADELPHIA FOR EVAN TURNER AND SPENCER HAWES
Just think of a young core made of Jrue Holiday, Josh Smith and Andrew Bynum. Philly would have a new Big 3 in town for years to come. Smith would electrify the Wells Fargo Center with his high-flying dunks and defensive ability. While Smith and Bynum are both looking for max contracts, Philly could offer Smith the max, while keeping Bynum’s knees at a cheaper rate, after not playing a single game this season. I would have to think that Doug Collins is somewhere champing at the bit that this trade goes down.
4. BOSTON FOR JEFF GREEN AND BRANDON BASS
This is a realistic move for Celtics GM Danny Ainge if he decides to give KG and The Truth one last go-round. While Doc has been getting great production out of Green as of late, now may be the right time to move him and his four-year, $36-million dollar contract, if ever. At this point, Danny says that a trade is “unlikely”, according to the Boston Globe, but the thought of Rondo throwing alley-oops to his former Oak Hill Academy teammate has certainly crossed his mind. Bringing Smith to Beantown would be beneficial for both Boston and Smith. It has also been rumored that the to-be free agent has his sites set on Boston as his “primary destination”, according to Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times. This would also take the pressure off of KG in the front court, as Smith transitions to be The Big Ticket’s successor. Don’t be surprised to see Smith wearing green after 3 p.m. Thursday.
3. PHOENIX FOR MARCIN GORTAT AND SHANNON BROWN
Phoenix has been rumored to be moving Gortat for months now and a move like this would be simply beneficial for ATL as it would give them the luxury of moving Horford back to his natural position of power forward. For Smith, it makes sense from a financial standpoint because as Lindsay Hunter transitions Phoenix basketball into the new era, Smith could be offered the max and the opportunity to be the face of their franchise for the next five years. Teamed up with a point guard in Goran Dragic, who thrives in the open court, Smith would look good as his running mate in Suns territory for years to come.
2. INDIANA FOR DANNY GRANGER AND LANCE STEPHENSON
This would make a lot of sense for ATL as they would be getting back another forward with star power, but let’s keep the focus on J-Smoove. The Pacers already have an extremely athletic team with Paul George leading the charge. Just imagine how easy it would be for George Hill, having the option of lobbing it up to Smith or their other All-Star forward. With Indiana having success without Granger this season, it is easy to see him as a part of this deal. Smith would give Indiana that extra punch that they need to make a deep postseason run, bringing more of a defensive presence to a team that will need it if they wish to get past Lebron.
1. MILWAUKEE FOR ERSAN ILYASOVA, SAMUEL DALEMBERT, AND A FIRST-ROUND PICK
Making this happen in Milwaukee would be tricky, as Smith, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings have all had their share of problems, but would provide the Bucks with an unbelievable trio of talent. For one, if the Bucks hope to keep Jennings in Milwaukee, Smith would definitely increase their chances. This combination would allow the Bucks to play at a fast pace, allowing these three to naturally rack up points at a high clip. Smith could find himself a Buck sooner rather than later as ESPN’s Chris Broussard has said that Smith would be interested in running with Jennings and Ellis.
Which do you think is most likely?
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