A demoralizing 97-58 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday may have triggered an outburst and a one-game team suspension from Atlanta Hawk forward Josh Smith.
It may have also kickstarted more rumors about Atlanta’s interest in trading the talented 27-year-old lockdown defender, who will be a free agent at season’s end.
Smith, known as much for his irritable temper and poor shot selection as his high-flying dunks and touch around the basket, has been tied to many trades before, including a possible move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
"As far as moving forward and whatever changes will be made, that's more so management's job to field those calls and make the decisions they feel like are best to move forward," Wallace Prather, Smith’s agent, said to CBS Sports in regards to Atlanta trading his client.
Smith could fit on several teams that have major cap space now and in the future, though the Atlanta native may be hesistant to leave, according to NBA.com.
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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a ton of cap space after failing to sign Deron Williams away from Brooklyn, and missing out on the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. Cuban has said he’s open to a trade as long as it doesn’t include Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks do have the expiring $8 million contract of center Chris Kaman to offer in a deal, and will be roughly $25 million below next year’s cap.
Atlanta could be an interesting partner with the Memphis Grizzlies, who are trying to unload the three remaining years and $55 million left on Rudy Gay’s deal. The Hawks only have $18 million worth of contracts on their books next season, and reportedly will make a big run at Dwight Howard, who is from Atlanta and could be a free agent at the end of the season. The Hawks have enough room to bring in Gay and Howard, and possibly L.A. Clippers guard Chris Paul, who is also a free agent after this season.
CBS Sports also quoted a source that Smith would be interested in a trade to Dallas, Memphis or the Houston Rockets. Adding a frontcourt star like Smith to a strong backcourt of Jeremy Lin and James Harden, could help make Houston a legitimate contender in the Western Conference.
Smith nearly made the East All-Star team last season, posting 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. His numbers have dipped to 16.5 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this season, but Smith is still regarded as one of the elite power forwards in the NBA.