Josh Smith Trade Rumors Fly All The Way To L.A.

Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith

Not one, not three, not four, not five, not six, but eight NBA teams are after Josh Smith this trade season, in what could prove to be a blockbuster move. The Brooklyn Nets are leading the charge in an onrush that includes the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, and even, the San Antonio Spurs.

Off the get-go, we can cross out the 76ers as a potential landing spot for Smith, since sources have leaked Philadelphia’s skepticism in him remaining with the team after the season’s end. A volatile player and decision-maker, the 76ers are right in doubting Smith’s commitment to them beyond the end of the 2012-13 campaign.

After fielding a deeply disappointing season, still scratching their heads on a Bynum return, and prime to rebuild around Jrue Holiday, the worst they could do is take on a player who has commitment issues, is overvalued, and who has slumped in many categories despite an increase in minutes played. Josh has plunged in PPG (17.4, was 18.8 last year), SPG (1.2, was 1.4), RPG (8.6, was 9.6), FT% (50%, was 63%), and TO (3.04, was 2.48).

The Phoenix Suns also get the cut since they won’t be a lucrative market for at least five years. Even more so if they lose Marcin Gortat, who has seen a reduced role under Lindsey Hunter. The Mavericks will have little sway in picking up Smith as Dirk is slowly becoming as mobile as a fossil, and the team is in shambles. Boston also probably doesn’t make a move, as their core group is playing well sans Rondo.

Realistically, that leaves the Lakers, Nets, Rockets, Spurs, and yes, the Hawks (if Josh decides to remain an ATLien), for the picking.

The Nets have been the more aggressive suitor, but have since shifted their attention away from Smith (and Ben Gordon of the Charlotte Bobcats), to Paul Millsap. Further bolstering an Eastern Conference rival, after already dealing Joe Johnson to them, also wouldn’t likely be in Atlanta’s plans.

The Rockets have the cap space, and a great complimentary style for Josh Smith―he has also expressed interest in playing there―but Houston is still gaga over Dwight.

With the drama in L.A., Houston probably sees its chances of landing the once-dominant center as very high. Unfortunately for Smith, that affects his chances of landing in Texas before Feb. 21.

San Antonio could be an enticing spot for Smith, considering their dynasty pedigree, and the possibility of playing under one of the best coaches and players of all time. But it seems to run low on trade pieces Atlanta would be interested in, and Smoove has never seemed particularly interested in becoming a player for the ages (even if he could).

Going back to L.A., the Lakers have the history of making bold maneuvers, but their greatest asset, Pau Gasol, is hurt and has a major contract attached to him. The Hawks tend to be thrifty, and it remains doubtful they would want to invest in a 31-year-old player at this point in time.
The most likely scenario is that the Hawks allow Josh Smith to test his market value, which won’t be as high as he believes, which will get him to settle for a close-to-max deal with the Hawks. Citing Howard’s discontent in L.A., they’ll be able to hook J-Smoove, and ultimately land D12.

Considering that no one on the Lakers team, including D’Antoni, seems to want to include Howard in their offensive schemes, he’ll set sail for the East this Summer. Jeff Teague and Al Horford, with perhaps a role player, will get shipped out West in exchange for Howard, who will be able to land in a small market (which means less media attention), and, will set himself up for a much-needed redemption in his hometown. With a healed Lou Williams, and a re-inspired Josh Smith at his side, he’ll be deadly.

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Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles