boston cetlics

Rational Trade Rumors -- Hawks mulling Josh Smith Trade

   Josh Smith has showed flashes of his potential when he helped lead the Atlanta Hawks past the Orlando Magic, while staying close before falling to the Chicago Bulls in the second round.

   He had one particularly impressive game against the Bulls, where he bulldozed his way to the hoop, left his jump shot at home and used his exceptional leaping ability to snatch rebounds away from Joakim Noah.

   There is something to work with, here and yet it’s no surprise that the Atlanta Hawks are peddling him around the league. He even has a list of preferred destinations, including Orlando to be with his AAU buddy Dwight Howard, the New Jersey Nets because the Russian pays well, and it’s a year closer to its anticipated Brooklyn move, Houston, where it doesn’t make much sense, and Boston, where it makes even less sense.

  The Hawks will not trade him to move up in the shallow draft class. Its main purpose lies in ditching Smith’s 2-year, $25 million contract. The Hawks have already committed to the more stable Al Horford at power forward, and it’s stuck with that landmine max contract for “Iso” Joe Johnson. Its front office doesn’t have much of a choice but to try and get something for Smith while it can, or else commit to winning in the last years of his contract.

   Currently, the Magic have nothing to offer. The Hawks wouldn’t want any part of the Gimp’s four-year cap killer, unless they can unload Marvin Williams to the Magic. Anyway, Orlando has no contract close to matching Smith’s except for Hedo Turkoglu’s. And that makes even less sense.

   Boston can offer either Ray Allen or Kevin Garnett’s expiring contract, which the Hawks covet. Having either Allen or Garnett doesn’t signal to its one or two fans that the Hawks are at least stepping back for at least a season, and they’d clear cap space sooner than than by hanging on to Smith. But it makes little sense to Boston, who seems to have committed to Garnett and Allen. Never count out team president Danny Ainge’s itchy trade trigger finger – he’s already said he won’t, or at least try not to, let the Celtics age. But maximizing Smith’s talent means letting him camp out on the paint. And that would be possible if Boston had any perimeter players left. Until Rajon Rondo learns to shoot from beyond 15 feet, Smith will clog the lanes, where he’ll inevitably draw a double team while having no option to kick out to.

   Houston doesn’t have an obvious match, unless it’s willing to depart with Luis Scola. Atlanta has little use for Kevin Martin.

   New Jersey can offer a package of center Johan Petro and his trade exception, plus Travis Outlaw, and I’m sure there that the two die-hard Hawks fans will commit a Vancouver-sized riot.