After months of trade speculation, the Atlanta Hawks ultimately chose to hang on to Josh Smith.
With their leading scorer still in uniform, the Hawks try for a 10th consecutive victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night at Philips Arena.
While many expected the Hawks (29-23) to move Smith before Thursday's deadline, general manager Danny Ferry kept him after reportedly pulling out of a last-second deal that would have sent him to Milwaukee. The versatile Smith, who's averaging 17.2 points and 8.6 rebounds, will become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
"We weighed the positives and negatives of each of our opportunities and at the end of the day we felt like the best decision was to stand pat based off some of the things we were looking at," Ferry said.
"We were in an unusual situation where Josh's contract, our cap space and flexibility going forward, having a good team right now, there were a lot of factors that played into this. I think the main factor is we value Josh. I think he's been important to our group this year and we can finish the year strong and hopefully we play well and we're a solid playoff team."
Sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, the Hawks worked out two separate trades Thursday, sending Anthony Morrow to Dallas for swingman Dahntay Jones and acquiring center Jeremy Tyler from Golden State for cash and future draft considerations.
It's unclear if either player will be available against the Kings (19-36), who also were busy before the deadline. Sacramento acquired forward Patrick Patterson, center Cole Aldrich and point guard Toney Douglas from Houston in exchange for Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt.
"We are excited about the addition of Patrick, Toney and Cole," president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie told the team's official website. "They will add skill and depth along with the potential for a different look to our roster."
Sacramento could certainly benefit from changing things up versus Atlanta, which has averaged 110.4 points during its nine-game run in this series. The Hawks cruised to a 112-96 road win Nov. 16 behind 22 points from Kyle Korver and Al Horford's 20 and 10 rebounds. Smith, meanwhile, scored 19 to go along with eight boards.
Smith entered the All-Star break averaging 26.3 points over a three-game stretch before scoring 10 on 5-of-13 shooting Wednesday in a 103-90 loss to Miami. He added nine rebounds and a season-high nine assists, but the Hawks were outscored 40-17 and committed six turnovers over the final 12 minutes.
"They just came out on fire (in the fourth)," said Horford, who finished with 27 points. "They were hitting some shots and we turned the ball over, didn't take good shots, and you can't do that against a good team like that."
Horford, who's posted three consecutive 20-point games for the first time in his career, is shooting 73.3 percent over that stretch.
The Kings don't carry much momentum into their five-game road trip after suffering a third consecutive loss and 11th in 14 games Tuesday, 108-102 to San Antonio. Isaiah Thomas had 22 points and Tyreke Evans scored 20, but Sacramento shot just 37.8 percent.
"When you don't make shots it makes everything else look bad," said Thomas, averaging 18.6 points and shooting 49.1 percent over the last five games.
"We just got to focus in and try to win every game one at a time. It's going to be a tough road trip, but hopefully we can take care of business."
The Associated Press News Service
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