In tweets and stories overnight, Adrian Wojanarowski and Marc Stein reported the Nets are pushing hard for Josh Smith, with Woj suggesting Brooklyn is "solely focused" on obtaining Smith and Stein quoting a "team close to the situation" as believing the Nets "would ultimately land Smith via a three-way trade." Ken Berger listed the Nets and Celtics as possible destinations and added that Smith's salary demands have lowered interest in the 6'9" Hawks power forward.
A deal for Smith would almost certainly require a three-way deal, a Billy King specialty. It would likely cost the Nets Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, draft picks and perhaps Toko Shengelia, Tyshawn Taylor or the draft rights to Bojan Bogdanovic, Europe's second leading scorer. While Smith, a free agent, may want a max deal, it's not at all certain the Nets would give him one. They are likely to offer him more than the Hawks did recently, three years at $37 million. The Nets almost certainly will want a commitment from Smith to re-sign this summer before offering significant resources to the Hawks.
Although Smith's name has been bandied about over the last week, interest began to pique late Monday. In a tweet just after 9:30 pm ET (early for him) Woj reported, "Brooklyn is solely focused on making a Smith deal," meaning Josh Smith. He noted that the Celtics are also interested in the 6'9" soon-to-be free agent.
The tweet was one in a series that laid out various teams' trade scenarios. In emptying his notebook, Woj also noted that "Three teams that league GM's on phones believe will make significant moves before trade deadline: Atlanta, Milwaukee and Phoenix," and "Boston's active on several fronts, including discussions on Josh Smith." In later tweets, he identified the Nets' next opponent, the Bucks, as a player for J.J. Redick and said the Timberwolves are marketing their draft picks.
At around the same time, Marc Stein reported, also via tweet, that the Celtics could possibly trade Paul Pierce, who's contract is fully guaranteed only for the remainder of this season, with a $4 million buyout option in 2013-14, to the Hawks. .
"Hawks have convinced numerous teams that Josh Smith will be moved between now and Thursday 3 PM deadline," tweeted Stein. "Question remains where exactly."
Still later Monday, Berger wrote , "The Nets and Celtics have inquired about Smith, but it's too early to say where those talks are going."
Then, early Tuesday morning, Stein laid out the possibilities, one by one, noting that in addition to the Nets and Celtics, the Suns, the Bucks were also interested. But he wrote, Brooklyn has something neither has, Mikhail Prokhorov's deep pockets.
The big worry for both of those teams, though, is whether they could really risk trading for Smith when convincing him to re-sign for the long term is likely to be a serious challenge in either city. Especially with Smith said to be angling for a max deal … and with nobody confusing the Suns or the Bucks with Mikhail Prokohorov's Nets.
His colleague, Chris Broussard, told ESPN radio that the Nets have already made an offer but know it won't fly.
Brooklyn has already offered Kris Humphries and Marshon Brooks. They don't think that can get it done. at least right now. They're trying to get a third team involved. Right now, it's kind of a game of chicken. Most teams are betting that Danny Ferry is going to take one of these offers and Ferry is betting that one of these teams is sweetening the pot and make me a deal I can do. But most around the league don't think he is going to get a good offer because Josh Smith wants a max offer...he's said that publicly. So whoever trades for him has to be concerned whether this is a rental or whether we're going to be able to keep this guy long term.
Broussard, who first suggested the Nets are in the lead position for Smith last week, added the Spurs to the list of teams seeking Smith.
Smith reportedly turned down a three-year, $37 million deal with Hawks, causing Ferry to seek trade partners. Reports have suggested that Smith wants a max deal of five years and $90 million, the last two years at more than $20 million, a steep price for a player who didn't even make the All-Star Game.
Later, Ken Berger reported that the Suns are also in the mix for Smith (and didn't mention the Nets' pursuit.) Berger argued that Smith's value has been discounted by his demands for a max deal.
The Hawks are believed to be seeking a combination of expiring contracts, young players and draft picks in exchange for Smith, whose expressed desire for a five-year, approximately $90 million max contract has cooled the market for him.
Berger also said that in general the Nets have more flexibility than the Celtics because they didn't use either the MLE or the bi-annual exception this summer.
- Trade Buzz: Teams trudge cautiously toward deadline - Ken Berger - CBS Sports
- Hawks seem determined to deal Josh Smith - Marc Stein - ESPN
- Chris Broussard Interview (Audio) - Mike & Mike - ESPN Radio
Sixers Rumors: Josh Smith for Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes? - Eliot Shorr-Parks - NJ.com