Thursday, March 8, 2012

Josh Smith wants out of Atlanta

The Atlanta Hawks have watched Josh Smith grow from a teenage headache to a reliable player. Smith is having his best season as a pro and should've been recognized as an All-Star this season. Despite all the good the team has done this year, with injuries to Al Horford and Joe Johnson, Smith wants out of Atlanta. If not by the March 15 trade deadline then he could possibly walk in free agency.

That puts the Hawks in the unenviable position of trying to find themselves the best deal or just outright losing Smith for nothing. The reasons Smith wants to be traded are that he thinks he needs a fresh start elsewhere and believes the Hawks aren't committed to winning a championship. I would have to agree with Smith on the latter opinion. Smith also has said that he could reach his potential on and off the court by playing for another team.

Let me translate that last sentence. I want to play for a winning franchise and get some of the endorsement money being handed out.

Smith has been the subject of trade rumors before and he brushes all of it aside when asked about it.

“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.”  

If Smith is unhappy, he's not showing it and is giving his best effort which should help him on the open market if he doesn't sign an extension.

Teammate Jerry Stackhouse believes it would be a mistake if the Hawks trade Smith.

“His talent, that’s what you can’t give up on with Josh,” Stackhouse said. “It’s easy to say, ‘All right, let’s just move him.’ And then he goes and clicks at the next stop and you’ve got to look at that every night and you had it in house. That’s kind of the dilemma with Josh. You know you are going to get some uneasy moments from time to time but, for the most part, he’s really about winning. He wants to win. He’s competitive. I relate to that.

“How he handles his emotions and frustrations, sometimes he rubs people the wrong way and bruises them. But I think he’s happy-go-lucky. He thinks, ‘It was just heat of the moment’ and we can move on from it but he can bruise people. I think he’s learning that. He is learning to control his emotions a little better and it’s good for our team. The better Josh Smith is, the better the Atlanta Hawks are.”

If Smith is traded it would hurt the Hawks in the short term. It all depends on who they get in return. If they can get a good haul for Smith they might be better off for it, but all in all this is a risk that I think Hawks management doesn't really want to take.

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