There hasn’t been another name that’s been uttered more on the NBA trade circuit this season than the name Josh Smith. Smith, who’s in his ninth season in the NBA is on the final year of his contract with the Atlanta Hawks and he’s set to hit the open market as an unrestricted free-agent this summer.
The Hawks have attempted to trade Smith for quite some time now, but Atlanta is currently shopping Smith as aggressively as ever, because should the Hawks fail to move Smith before the trade-deadline on Thursday, they risk losing him for nothing this summer. It’s a risk that any team that acquires Smith via a trade with the Hawks would also inherit. But to all the teams out there that are in the race Smith, including the Phoenix Suns, here are some “Pros & Cons” Of acquiring Josh Smith.
Josh Smith Pros:
- An all-star caliber forward who excels defensively and can do it all offensively.
- Only 27 years old, and is in the midst of his prime.
- Great box-office type player who will attract fans to arena to watch his electrifying aerial demonstrations.
- Highly adaptable in any type of offensive system.
- Any team that acquires Smith has the advantage come negotiations time in the summer due to the bird-rights clause which gives whatever team that acquires Smith, the right to offer a longer contract(One-year) which means more money in Mr. Smith’s pocket.
Josh Smith Cons:
- Has yet to make an all-star team. There could be an argument that he’s been snubbed multiple times but nonetheless, nine years in the league and he’s still yet to make an all-star team.
- Risk of losing him for nothing in the off-season.
- Unimpressive shooting percentages that raises concern given he’s a big-man(Career field-goal percentage of 46%). The issue stems from his shot selection more than anything else but the fact that he chooses to settle for 20-footers as opposed to dominating around the rim like he’s done so, as he shot 68.1% around the rim during the 2011-2012 season, is a bit of a red-flag.
- Desires a max-contract which is estimated to be about $90 million dollars over five-years; nearly the same contract Amar’e Stoudemire was given when he signed with the Knicks in 2010.
- Displays tremendous talent but hasn’t made huge improvements since his jump from his second season in the NBA to his third season in the NBA.
It’s obvious why any team would want Josh Smith. He’s a versatile combo-forward who can stabilize a defense and has been relatively productive each season he’s been in the league. However at this point, he comes with one too many risks for teams who are currently playing for draft position. That includes the Phoenix Suns, along with the Dallas Mavericks who are also in play for Smith.
Assuming the Suns add Smith to the roster, Smith would immediately help the Suns win a few more games this season, which could potentially hurt the Suns come the NBA draft this June. Three or four meaningless wins could potentially bump the Suns from the fifth spot in the draft, to the eighth.
Another thing the Suns would have to consider is Smith’s contract demands. Smith desires a max contract which would approximately be a five-year $90 million dollar contract for a player who’s yet to make the all-star team after nine seasons in the league? I don’t know about that one….
To sum up, the Suns should stay away from Smith, but at the same time it wouldn’t be astonishing if the Suns went out and got Smith in a fit of desperation. But the fact that Smith could walkaway for nothing in the summer and the fact that the Suns would likely have to surrender a future first-round draft choice to acquire Smith is a bit iffy.
The Suns own the rights multiple first-round draft choices for the upcoming draft this June. The Suns 2013 first-round draft choice is projected to be in the top-five range depending where the Suns sit in the NBA standings at the end of the season. The Suns should learn a lesson from what happened to the Nets last season around the trade-deadline. The Nets traded their own first-round draft choice to Portland in order to acquire Gerald Wallace, that draft pick turned out to be Damian Lillard.
However as long as the Suns don’t cough up their own first-round draft choice in exchange for Smith but instead gives Atlanta the rights to a future first-round draft choice that belongs to either the Lakers or the Timberwolves(the Suns own the rights to both picks), it wouldn’t be the worst deal in the world. The absolute worst thing the Suns could possibly do at this point is to trade away their own draft choice for this upcoming draft. Just look at the Nets, in retrospect, they traded away Damian Lillard to acquire an injury prone small forward who’s heading into his thirties; that’s a bad deal if there ever was one.