Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Josh Smith Trade Scenarios

Josh could make adobe bricks in Phoenix.
So ESPN's Chad Ford thinks that the next step in the progression of the Hawks after the Al Horford signing is to trade Josh Smith. Granted this isn’t even a rumor. It’s an educated speculation. But he throws out the Knicks, Nets, Suns and Pistons as teams that have shown interest in the past.

So I turned to ESPN’s handy trade machine to find out what those teams have to offer in potential Josh Smith trades.

I had a few criteria:

1. The trades had to be somewhat realistic. We’re not unloading Smith and Jamal Crawford for Amare Stoudemire. It’s not happening.

2. Money is a consideration. The impetus for trading Smith would be to get rid of his salary, so anyone coming back would almost have to have a matching contract that expires at the end of the year.

3. Ideally the Hawks would get something useful for the remainder of the season. You would think that they wouldn’t completely sacrifice their standing in the East just to save a few bucks. The Hawks brass has a reputation for being cheap, but they did just make Joe Johnson the highest paid player in the NBA.

So here are the four teams that Ford mentions and what they have to offer.


Dream trade: Smith and Jeff Teague to the Nets for Brooke Lopez and Troy Murphy

Murphy’s contract expires after this season, so he's the essential piece. Lopez would finally fill the Hawks' eternal void at center and create a bad-ass front court alongside Horford. Plus Lopez's rookie deal doesn't end until after next season.

But obviously, this would be an extremely one-sided trade. And there's no way that the re-building Nets are going to give up a potential top-5 center that could anchor their lineup for the next decade. The Hawks would gladly part with Teague if Lopez were in the deal, but he's a part of their plans right now too.

But while we're fantasizing, how cool would a Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Murphy, Horford, Lopez starting lineup be? With Marvin, Pachulia, Crawford, Evans and Powell coming off the bench? That's a pretty significant upgrade.

More realistic: Smith for Troy Murphy, straight up. The Nets get Smith. The Hawks get Murphy for half a season and money off their books. Everyone wins, even if Murphy isn't healthy.


Dream trade: Smith to the Knicks for Eddie Curry’s expiring contract and Danilo Gallinari

More realistic: Smith for Curry and a pick

The Knicks don’t really have a lot of enviable pieces, but all Smith does is shoot jump shots nowadays, so the Hawks could replace Smith’s bricks with Gallinari’s smooth stroke and make themselves better on the perimeter. Plus Gallinari is cheap at $3.3 million for the next two seasons.

(And remember how when Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur first came up and some Braves fans dressed up as McCann’s Cans and Francoeur’s Franks? How great would it be if a group of Atlanta Hawks fans went to Phillips dressed up as bricks and called themselves “Smith’s Bricks”? Is it cool to taunt your own player for being a hardheaded horrible shooter?)

We'd need those arms in any trade for Smith's bricks.

Sensible trade: Smith and Marvin Williams to Detroit for Tayshaun Prince and Charlie Villanueva

Realistic trade: Smith for Prince and a pick

There is no dream trade with the Pistons because they don’t have anyone who would be a significant upgrade over who the Hawks already have.

Prince has dollar for dollar trade value for Smith and his contract expires at the end of the season. Villanueva (which, incidentally, is Spanish for “new town”) is a less-expensive ($7 million), less talented version of Smith. The only reason the Hawks would want him is because he’s serviceable and so is his contract for the next two seasons. Plus you’d get Prince’s championship experience and freakishly long arms on defense for half a season. He could help out in the playoffs this season for sure.


Dream trade: Smith, Mo Evans and Jeff Teague for Jason Richardson’s expiring contract, Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic. 

We'll take either one of these guys.
The Suns get a young speedy point guard to play behind Nash and they get the high flying Smith, who would absolutely thrive in their open court game. The Hawks get Richardson for half a season. But they could potentially sign Robin Lopez to an extension and have a starting center for the foreseeable future.

(I'd take either one of the Lopez twins. They're athletic, solid post players that seem like good long-term solutions to the center position.)

More realistic: Smith and Jordan Crawford for Richardson and a draft pick

The Suns are allergic to draft picks, so getting a late first rounder from them shouldn’t be a problem. Giving up Crawford so soon would be kind of a bummer, but the Hawks could use the money that they clear from the cap to re-sign Jamal Crawford and keep the team essentially intact.