More after the jump:
Trading Josh Smith has become a cottage industry among the blogs this past week since ESPN's Chad Ford set the Hawks core power forward on fire by suggesting that the Hawks need to divest themselves of one core young frontcourt player to accommodate the other, largely due to Joe Johnson's mega-haul this summer.
From Ford's post:
While Horford's new salary won't push the Hawks into the luxury tax, it will put them very close. The move means they won't be able to afford to re-sign Jamal Crawford, or replace him with a similar salaried player next season, without incurring the tax.
That situation is already leading to speculation that GM Rick Sund may be forced to put Smith on the market soon. Sund briefly flirted with trading Smith last summer, before pulling back. While no one is claiming he's been made available yet, a number of GMs around the league expect his name to be in the mix by the February trade deadline.
Williams would be the Hawks' first choice to move, but he didn't get a lot of bites when he was available this summer. That could push them to see what they can get for Smith.
Such a notion, speculative as it is, has inspired many a fan boy (and gal) to formulate the usual ridiculous notions and potentials deals for their favorite team to go get Smoove.
In that vein, Dime Magazine listed (5) reasons why the Hawks should trade Josh Smith.
5. They can't afford to keep everyone - Resigning Al Horford to a five-year, $60 million extension and inking Joe Johnson to a $120 million deal this summer has officially put the Hawks in the hot seat. It's obvious that they can't afford to keep everyone. Horford's new salary has put the Hawks on the brink of the luxury tax, which leaves very little flexibility in terms of roster changes. The Hawks need Jamal Crawford (who also wants a new deal), and if they don't shift some pieces to the puzzle by the end of the season, they won't be able to resign Crawford or sign any other player of the same caliber. Josh Smith is the second most expensive player on the roster ($11.6M this season, $12.4M next) behind only Joe Johnson. If the Hawks want to clear up some room on the payroll in order to balance out the roster they'll look at Smith to trade first. Frankly, that may be their only option.
Hmmm...something tells me Rick Sund isn't so much worried about a thirtysomething year old scorer who doesn't play defense, nice a guy as he is and pretty shooter to boot more than his mid-twenties shot blocking, rim rocking big. I sense that Rick is cool with having two all-star caliber frontcourt guys bringing out whatever "imbalance" comes with it.
Looking at them, none of these are new, and all of them have some threads of truths to them. Two of the five stem from the "Al Horford needs to be a power forward" line of thinking, which I am not adverse to thinking myself.
Still, I don't believe the Hawks should trade Josh Smith unless they are massively upgrading another position on the floor like, say, point guard. Otherwise, Dime could, or in the spirit of the previous article perhaps should, make a list even longer about reasons why the Hawks should keep Josh Smith, beginning with a reasonably priced contract for a highly efficient, if even at times puzzling, young difference maker.
After all, the Hawks don't lock down Joe Johnson unless they are convinced that they have an effective core of players that will be playoff ready for the next 5-6 years. To do that and then turn around and eliminate one of that core spells out what we meant by the title of this piece.