March 7, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Hawks power forward Josh Smith (center) shoots past Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (right) as Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem (left) looks on during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
NBA.com writer Sekou Smith adds his perspective to the Josh Smith saga saying that the Hawks forward first requested a trade before the trade deadline last season.
Long before Dwight Howard‘s training camp trade request went public, his preschool classmate and former AAU teammate Josh Smith beat him to the punch, going to Hawks' management with his trade request before last February's trade deadline.
According to Michael Cunningham's report in the AJC, Smith reiterated his demand to the Hawks and was looking to be moved before the March 15 deadline. Sekou's report indicates that the Hawks basically ignored Smith's demand last season and sets the precedent that they could do so again this season. Smith has performed at an All-Star level since the break and has recently carried the Hawks while Joe Johnson and others have been sidelined.
However, Smith's situation will have to be addressed sooner rather than later due to the financial ramifications. Atlanta has heavily invested in Joe Johnson and also has signed Al Horford to a long-term extension. It is going to be debatable whether or not the Hawks can afford to make a reasonable offer to Smith when his contract expires after next season. As more reports leak out, it appears that Smith may not even entertain the idea of remaining in Atlanta when he hits the open market.