Josh Smith Wants To Be Traded Before Deadline
With most of the attention on Dwight Howard and where he will end up on March 15th, one of the leagues most underrated players & best fantasy players still wants a new home. 8 years Hawk Veteran Josh Smith asked to be traded at the end of last season and despite not having his wishes granted he’s been playing some of his best ball for the franchise and made the NBA All-Star team. Now he’s reminding everybody that he still wants out so look for atleast one team to have a nice addition within the next 7 days.
From the AJC Hawks Blog
Miami–Even as Josh Smith is having a strong season for the Hawks he has let the team know he wants to be traded as the March 15 deadline approaches, according to people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.
And the reasons for Smith’s dissatisfaction with the team now have to make the Hawks wonder if they will be able to sign him to a contract extension next season.
By the end of last season Smith wanted out of Atlanta because he believed he was singled out for unfair criticism by coaches and media. Those concerns have died down for the most part this season but now Smith believes he needs a fresh start with a franchise where he can better reach his potential on and off the court, according to one of the people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.
The person said one of Smith’s complaints is that he believes the Hawks didn’t do enough to promote him for selection to the All-Star team, which he thinks contributed to lesser players being voted to the team by Eastern Conference coaches. Smith, an Atlanta native who has played his entire eight-year career with the Hawks, also would like to play for a franchise he believes is more committed to winning a championship.
As the trade deadline approaches, the Hawks have taken calls from teams interested in acquiring Smith—Golden State is among the teams who have inquired. But the Hawks so far have given no indication that they intend to part with Smith, who likely would command a high price in a trade.
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Smith, 26, is under contract through next season, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. If the Hawks don’t trade Smith and can’t alleviate his concerns by then, they face the real possibility of him signing with another team in the summer of 2013 because there figures to be a strong market for him.
I asked Smith about all of this last night before the Hawks played the Heat but he declined to comment. This is the third season in a row he’s been at the center of trade rumors.
“I really don’t pay any attention to it,” he said. “I just go out there and play the way I play and not worry about anything else. I know this is a business. Whatever happens, happens in the long run. But I know as long as I’m with the Hawks, I have to put my best foot forward.”
This season Smith is averaging 17.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.5 steals. No other player in the league can match those numbers across all categories. It’s that all-around productivity that makes the Hawks reluctant to part with Smith.
Smith’s value as a defender at the basket becomes obvious when Hawks opponents drive to rim when Smith goes to the bench.
“People look at the offensive end but defensively he changes the game,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said recently. “He is one of the few players I think that can play a defensive game and impact the game even if his offense is not on that night.”
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