The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the NBA’s most consistent teams since falling to the Celtics in seven hard-fought games back in 2008 — and also one of its most frustrating. Due to a roster makeup that leaves little room for flexibility (which is normally what happens when you spend nine figures on Joe Johnson), the Hawks are stuck treading water like the Celtics did in the early 2000s. Sadly for Hawks fans, their favorite team doesn’t have anybody doing the Walker Wiggle to distract them from the years of mediocre winning.
The Hawks earn the No. 4 or No. 5 seed each season, perhaps advance to the second round of the playoffs, and then fall to an actual title contender, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of fans, who once expected improvement before slowly realizing the team’s talent has already been maxed out. In 2008, the Hawks were young and exciting. They’ve become the pitcher who leaped onto the scene with a 95 MPH arm, who’s no longer so young and never learned how to throw a goddamn curveball.
And now Josh Smith — who has probably been Atlanta’s best player this season (and maybe the last few) — reportedly wants out. Boston has previously been mentioned as a possible Smith destination, but Peter Vecsey — who, keep in mind, has a reputation for creating rumors out of thin air — cautions not to believe any Josh Smith to Boston trade rumors.
At the same time, do not believe word one of what you might have heard or read regarding Josh Smith possibly being dealt to the Celtics for Kevin Garnett or anyone, for that matter. Same goes for Joe Johnson, reputedly on the lips of the Warriors in trade talk.
Smith is one of few players in the NBA capable of domination on both ends of the court. He’s also one of the few players (only player?) in league history reported to request a trade because his team didn’t campaign loudly enough for his inclusion in the All-Star Game.
I’ve always been intrigued by Josh Smith. He’s the type of player who’s *thisclose* to being one of the league’s finest difference makers, and he’d surely make a marvelous alley-oop target for Rajon Rondo the next few years.
But the Celtics probably don’t have enough to pry him away.
P.S. — During the writing of this post I visited HoopsHype’s salary page to view Smith’s contract figures and was reminded: Joe Johnson will make $25 million… in the year 2015-16. No joke necessary.