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Hawks pushed hard to sign Josh Smith before the season, according to report

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ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that the Atlanta Hawks offered Josh Smith a three-year contract in excess of $45 million before the start of the season.

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As the regular season winds down the playoffs loom. Also on the horizon for many teams is the offseason and the Atlanta Hawks figure to have one of the busiest when the game shifts from the court to the team offices around the league.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reports that the Hawks pushed hard before the start of the season to keep one of their top free agents in house.

The Hawks did want to sign Josh Smith to a contract extension before the season started.

The figure shared with me this week: Atlanta's offer coming into the 2012-13 campaign was a three-year extension worth in excess of $45 million.

It was reported that the Hawks made an offer to Smith and we discussed the reasons why Smith would not accept such a deal. The biggest reason of which is that Smith would be eligible to sign a contract that was as long as five years during the offseason as a free agent. The longest deal he could accept as an extension would be for three years.

Stein gives us a number here to work with however saying that the offer was in excess of $45 million. That seems to suggest that Atlanta thinks of Josh as a player worth in the neighborhood of $15 to lets say $17 million annually. Spread that out over a five year deal and you get a $75-85 million dollar figure.

That is clearly not a max deal and Smith's status in a weak free agent market could in fact drive the price up which is something that the Hawks and Danny Ferry will have to deal with provided they see Josh as a big part of the team's future.