Hawks forward Josh Smith will be staying in Atlanta.
After constant chatter and a looming last-second deal involved the Hawks top scorer, Smith is still an Atlanta Hawk and multiple sources, including ESPN, say he will be staying put.
Smith, a College Park native, had been the subject of trade speculation and this afternoon Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry decided not to pulled the trigger.
Multiple league sources told the Daily World that Smith was not opposed to Milwaukee — the city or the weather — and likes the Bucks’ roster enough to sign a long-term deal there if he were to be traded.
The forward has been a seemingly perpetual subject of trade rumors as he’s worn his welcome in Atlanta a bit and contenders around the league see him as the potential chip to put their teams over the top.
His contract expires at the end of the year, which made him expendable, especially since the Hawks seemed less than motivated to sign Smith to the maximum deal he was seeking.
When asked how he felt about moving Smith before the 3:00 p.m. trade deadline, Ferry responded:
“We’re in a unique situation with the current roster being competitive, but also having good cap flexibility going forward. Like most teams, we’re evaluating ourselves and looking at the opportunities that come to us, especially this time of year. If there’s an opportunity that makes sense for us and for the long-term interest of the Hawks, we’ll look at it closely.”
For his part, Smith took it all in stride, often voicing his frustration with media queries about the trade, but never with the front office, coach or teammates.
“I’m just a basketball player,” Smith said in response to questions about whether he had any say in blocking a possible trade.
“It’ll be a relief from all the questions I have to keep answering,” he added after Wednesday night’s 103-90 loss to the Miami Heat. “It’s everywhere. I just stay to myself and just focus on basketball. We’ll see.”
The Hawks had inched closer to Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline more determined than ever to trade Smith, according to sources with knowledge of the Hawks’ thinking.
Sports Illustrated reported that the Hawks remained “committed” to moving him as the deadline approached, but that turned out not to be true.
“For a while, the Hawks were conflicted about dealing Smith…But the combination of Smith’s likely contract demands this summer — Smith publicly stated he felt he was a max player — and his history of uneven behavior in Atlanta has the Hawks ready to move on, according to league sources familiar with the team’s thinking,” wrote SI’s Chris Mannix. “Atlanta GM Danny Ferry has shrewdly positioned his team to have cap flexibility this summer, and bringing back Smith for big dollars isn’t in the plans.”
Earlier in the week, Yahoo! Sports reported that Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Phoenix were the frontrunners for Smith while two rival executives believe Boston and Dallas remain in the mix.
Orlando traded Reddick to Milwaukee in exchange for Doron Lamb, Tobias Harris and Beno Udrih, according to Yahoo! Sports and Phoenix made no moves at the deadline.