Report: Josh Smith eyes Celtics as trade destination
|06.21.11 at 9:00 am ET|
It’s splitsville for the Hawks and forward Josh Smith, or so Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski suggested on Tuesday, but could the 2010 NBA All-Defensive Second Team selection find happiness in Boston?
According to Wojnarowski, both Smith and his hometown Hawks may actually prefer the Celtics as a potential suitor for the 2005 slam dunk champ’s services …
Smith hasn’t requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him. …
Hawks GM Rick Sund has long coveted Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen — two aging Celtics entering the final years of contracts — but Celtics GM Danny Ainge has yet to show an inclination to break up his core for next season.
The Hawks owe Smith $12.4 million this coming season and $13.2 million in 2012-13, which are fairly affordable dollars for a player with his freakish athletic ability. Defensively, he’s a monster, as his career averages of 7.7 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 steals per game indicate. Offensively? He’s averaged at least 15.6 points per game in his last five seasons, although his shot selection can be an issue (after going 0-for-7 from 3-point range for the entire season in 2009-10, he attempted 154 treys in 2010-11).
Ainge has indicated that no player is off limits in terms of trade talks this off-season, although Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo are as untouchable as they come. A Garnett-for-Smith swap wouldn’t push the Celtics anywhere closer to an NBA title in 2011-12, but would Allen-for-Smith make sense? With Glen Davis likely headed out of town, Smith would provide a much-needed big body with a versatile defensive skill-set, but such a deal would leave a gaping hole at the shooting guard position.
The uncertainty of the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA and its players association makes any deal difficult, as teams aren’t sure how they can fill roster holes without knowing the salary cap landscape.