Multiple reports indicate that the Atlanta Hawks will move Josh Smith before Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline. However, where they might send him and more importantly what the Hawks might be getting back still isn't clear.
The latest rumor is most heavily centered around the Boston Celtics and Paul Pierce. At age 35 Pierce likely isn't the answer to Atlanta's rebuilding desires. His contract for next season is only partially guaranteed for $4 million. Long term Atlanta would likely try to flip Pierce to a new team this summer but would give the club a small forward option for the remainder of the season.
I have a couple of problems with the deal. It seems unlikely that the Hawks would send Smith away without getting something back in return that could be used as a building block for the future. Also as much as it is hard to imagine the Celtics sending Pierce to Atlanta it is equally as hard to see the Hawks sending Smith to Boston with whom they would have to play four times every season. Perhaps the deal could be expanded to include a third team.
Which has been the problem with virtually all of the Smith rumors to date. It doesn't seem that anything the Hawks are getting in return is any more valuable than just simply letting Smith play out the remainder of the season and letting him walk at the end and soaking up the cap space. At this juncture, any trade that brings back salary is not a good thing for the Hawks unless Danny Ferry sees that player as a building block for the team's future. That makes deals with Brooklyn and even this Celtics rumor unlikely.
Teams like Phoenix and Houston, who have young assets and draft picks seem reluctant to dive in on a trade for Smith. Houston could sign him to a max deal this offseason so they may in fact stand pat.
So really nothing much has changed since the last time we talked about this. It is apparent that Smith's name is out there and is available. The question is do the Hawks get an offer that they deem worthy of accepting?