With another mediocre All-Star weekend in the books, it’s time to look forward to the next major date on the NBA calendar, this Thursday’s trade deadline. There are multiple names circulating as potential trade targets, including the Atlanta Hawks’ 6-foot-9 defensive specialist and leader, Josh Smith. The powerhouse forward is in the last year of his contract, and due to a variety of reasons including a suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team” earlier this season, he has been widely reported as one of the more likely to be moved across the league. While General Manager Ernie Grunfeld has publicly proclaimed numerous times that the Wizards aren’t interested in making moves before this coming offseason, Yahoo! Sports analyst Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted yesterday that Washington could indeed be in the mix for Smith.
If the Wizards were somehow able to acquire Smith, it could very well be one of Grunfeld’s best moves ever as GM (not that there are many). Smith is averaging a whopping 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists so far this year with a commendable 17.91 PER. Though he’s never been selected to an All-Star game himself, he is a perennial superstar and at the age of 27 could easily help a team with John Wall, Bradley Beal, and co. become a contender in years to come. That is, if he decides to extend his contract with the team that acquires him. It’s questionable whether Smith would want to play for a team like the Wizards in the long term, but with the recent success Wall has added since a return to the lineup, DC might look more like an attractive destination.
As for whom the Wizards could trade for Smith, I believe the most likely candidates are forwards Kevin Seraphin and Emeka Okafor and potentially guard Jordan Crawford as well. The Hawks will surely require hefty compensation, and all three notable Wizards players have two years left on their contracts. A swap of Okafor’s meaty $13.5 million per year deal could especially help the monetary components of a trade balance given whatever’s left of Smith’s $13.2 million expiring contract.
With the reported Bucks, Nets, Celtics, 76ers and more being linked to Smith, it may not be likely that the Wizards acquire him, but nevertheless stay tuned for more trade deadline coverage.