VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Fantasy Sports
More
Betting Tools

 
Hawks face big decision with Josh Smith

ATLANTA (AP) - The Hawks could soon face a big decision with leading scorer Josh Smith, one of the most-discussed names in speculation leading up to the NBA trade deadline.

Advertisement
Smith, in his ninth season with his hometown Hawks, can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. That makes him a natural trade-deadline target, especially given general manager Danny Ferry's established willingness to part with big contracts.

Ferry, who traded Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams before the season, said Wednesday he's open to any opportunity that makes long-term sense for the team.

``We're in a unique situation right now with our current roster being competitive but also having potential cap space going forward,'' Ferry said. ``Like most teams we're constantly evaluating ourselves and looking at the opportunities that may be out there to improve, whether that's through internal growth or externally through trades.

``If there's an opportunity that makes sense for the long-term interest of the Hawks, we'll certainly look into it. We'll definitely look into it.''

Ferry wouldn't comment specifically on any talks with teams, including reports the Nets, Spurs and other teams have inquired about Smith.

The trade deadline is Feb. 21.

Smith, who had 30 points and 10 rebounds in the Hawks' 108-76 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, said he hasn't let the trade rumors interfere with his play.

``I've been playing well, so I guess my game speaks for that question,'' Smith said. ``I'm not worried about any outside distractions, media, hearsay. I just try to come out and play my game and not worry about anything else.''

He said this isn't the first season he's heard trade rumors.

``This is like the third or fourth year, so I'm kind of immune to it,'' he said.

The Hawks are sixth in the Eastern Conference. Their postseason outlook took a hit when guard Lou Williams sustained a season-ending knee injury last month.

The 27-year-old Smith is known for his powerful left-handed dunks and defensive big plays with steals and blocked shots. He leads the Hawks with his average of 17.1 points per game, and he is second to center Al Horford with 8.6 rebounds per game.

Smith set career highs with his averages of 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds last season.

If he is not traded, Smith could be difficult to re-sign. Though he has never been an All-Star, he could ask for a maximum contract. The Hawks could offer five years and about $94 million, while other teams could offer up to about $70 million for four years.

Smith's Atlanta-based agent, Wallace Prather, said the Hawks and Smith agreed there would be no contract talks until after the season.

``Management offered Josh an extension at the beginning of the year,'' Prather said. ``That's the last that we spoke about Josh's future in Atlanta.''

Prather wouldn't speculate if Smith, who is making $13.2 million this season, can command a maximum contract.

``The market dictates that,'' Prather said. ``I don't like to speak one way or the other. You can't put the cart before the horse. You go out and play well and then when that contract comes up, you go out and find the best deal for you. ... Obviously, he's playing at a high level.''

The Hawks have awarded only one max contract - a six-year, $123 million deal with Johnson in 2010. Ferry was still new to his job in Atlanta when he dealt Johnson to the Nets.

Smith's career has been filled with impressively balanced stat lines. He had 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists Monday night in a 105-101 win at Dallas.

But there is another side to Smith, who was suspended by the team for one game last month for ``conduct detrimental to the team'' following an incident in practice.

Smith can follow spectacular plays with poor decisions. His 146 turnovers are only four below point guard Jeff Teague's team-leading total.

Hawks coach Larry Drew said Smith's positive far outweigh the mistakes. He said Smith should be representing the Eastern Conference in Sunday's All-Star game.

``It's just really unfortunate,'' Drew said. ``I think he's having a phenomenal year. And I've said it before: Few players in the league can impact the game on both ends of the floor the way he can.

``He can defend all five positions. I've put him in a position where he had to defend all five positions in one game. You just have to keep doing what you're doing. Sooner or later he will be recognized, as he should have already been, as an All-Star.''

Smith wasn't happy in 2008 when the Hawks forced him to test his value on the open market as a restricted free agent. He signed an offer sheet with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Hawks quickly matched the offer.

Now the Hawks may face another decision with the power forward.

``Josh is a pretty good player, so I would assume there are a lot of people that are interested,'' Prather said. ``Now will they pull the trigger? Will they offer Danny something he likes?

``I think those teams are interested. ... If he is genuinely looking to move Josh, it's up to him and those teams to work something out.''

---

Associated Press writer Kyle Hightower in Orlando, Fla., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Mejia: Monday's NBA Essentials
Lawrence: Playoff Zig-Zag Theory
ASA: Handicapping the Playoffs
News: First Round Series Odds
Lawrence: First Round Playoff Trends
Jazz beat Clippers 105-98 to even series
Celtics beat Bulls 104-95 to tie series
Rockets edge OKC for 3-1 series lead
James helps Cavs sweep Pacers with late 3
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NBA Hot Streaks
8-1 Record Last 5 Days
2-0 Y'day, 29-15 Run, 4-1 G-Plays
8-3 Playoffs, 16-4 L20 Streak
3-0 Yesterday, 8-4 L3 Days
13-7 L20 Picks, +2,310 This Year
3-0 L3 Guarantees, 4-1 L5 Totals
9-3 L12 Picks, 5-1 L6 Totals
5-2 L2 Days, 22-6 L28 Guarantees
6-3 L3 Days, +1,674 G-Plays TY
39-21 L60 Picks, 33-17 L50 GPlays
8-4 Last 12 NBA Guarantees
4-1 L5 Guaranteed Plays
18-7 L25 G-Plays, 26-12 Streak
17-9 L26 Guaranteed Plays
6-2 L8 G-Plays, 7-4 Postseason
12-5 L17 Over/Under Plays
6-2 L8 G-Plays, +2,399 TY
5-1 Record Last 2 Days
NBA Pro Basketball Expert Sports Picks - Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors
2016 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 2399
NeiltheGreek + 2310
Chip Chirimbes + 1100
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Doc's Sports + 631
Jimmy Boyd + 580
Micah Roberts + 455
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Jim Feist 55 %
Alex Smart 55 %
Stephen Nover 54 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Alex Smart + 3155
Chip Chirimbes + 1674
ASA + 1355
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 1817
Bill Marzano + 1453
Paul Bovi + 645
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1411
Gary Bart + 1219
Bruce Marshall + 1185
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership