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Josh Smith: 'I never said one time that I wanted to leave Atlanta'

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Josh Smith denies that he ever requested a trade from the Hawks and says that he and general manager Danny Ferry have a "good understanding" about his future.

Mike Ehrmann

Josh Smith talked with Fox Sports Florida NBA writer Chris Tomasson and denied published reports that he ever requested the Atlanta Hawks to trade him. Smith goes on to say that his decision to not sign an extension with the team was purely a financial decision and that he and general manager Danny Ferry have a "good understanding" about his future. From Tomasson's story:

"I never said one time that I wanted to leave Atlanta. It was always rumors and things. The moves that they made (last summer) and the success that we're having, I am excited about what is going with this organization and I am considering strongly staying here. I haven't ever had any thoughts that I wanted to leave.''

If Smith decided to sign an extension with the club now he would only be eligible for a three-year deal. By waiting to the end of the season he will be able to re-sign for a five-years per league rules.

Ferry didn't dispute that he and Smith have an "understanding" and described Josh "as a guy that you want in your program."

"I value Josh. He's a good player. We're clear about that. And he has been clear (with the Hawks) about how he has enjoyed being in Atlanta. ... I value Josh, and certainly you want guys like that in your program.''

So while it has long been rumored that Smith had one foot out the door it seems that he has done his best here to set the record straight. By Josh being so forthcoming with Tomasson, he ensures that there isn't likely to be a Josh Smith version of the Dwightmare that Orlando went through before trading Dwight Howard to the Lakers.

Smith enjoyed his best season as a pro last year when he averaged 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He got off to somewhat of a slow start this season but was just named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Smith is currently averaging 17.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season.

Here Smith talks about being named Player of the Week for the Eastern Conference: