The Atlanta Hawks are doing everything they can to trade Josh Smith prior to the NBA trade deadline of Feb. 21. According to John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Atlanta has approached the 76ers about a deal to send Smith to Philadelphia for Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes. The 76ers were originally thought to be out of the Smith sweepstakes, but a deal for Turner has Atlanta interested again.
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Trading Smith for Turner does not really make sense on Atlanta's end. Turner is in his third year with the league and was drafted as No. 2 overall, but he has yet to play like a top pick the 76ers had hoped he would become. He is only averaging 13.8 points per game. He has posted decent numbers in rebounds and assists, averaging 6.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. However those are nowhere near what Smith is capable of. Smith is averaging 17.4 points per game with 8.6 rebounds. He is faster to the rim than Turner. Throwing Hawes into the trade could prove fruitful for the Hawks. He is averaging double-digits in points, but he has yet to adjust to becoming a full-time starter for the team.
Clearly, trading Smith is for money purposes only. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and sees himself as a maximum contract player. He has yet to lead the Hawks to any sort of major success, except a few solid playoff runs. Atlanta does not plan on giving Smith the giant contract he claims to deserve and would rather free up their salary cap space to pursue other superstar players.
The Hawks are likely to trade Smith before the deadline. They have been aggressive negotiating with other teams The Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics are rumored to be in the mix. If Atlanta does decide to resign Smith, they are setting up for him to become the face of the franchise. However, it gives them almost no room to improve the team anymore. They are looking for a trade that would allow them to set up for long-term success.