Hawks and Josh Smith Ready to Split?

As a resident of Atlanta for the past seven years, I have personally seen Atlanta Hawks management make some bold decisions, more bad than good. Of all the teams I root for, this team is the hardest to root for, especially when you consider “what could have been”.

Drafting Marvin Williams over CP3 and Deron Williams ..

The Speedy Claxton contract ..

Drafting Shelden Williams over Brandon Roy ..

The recent ridiculous contract given to Joe Johnson ..

You could go on and on .. But as a fan and as an optimistic thinker, I choose to focus on the positive. Getting Joe Johnson from Phoenix, drafting Al Horford, and bringing in Jamal Crawford has changed the culture of basketball in Atlanta. I have seen this team go from picking at the top of the draft to the sub .500 team that took the Celtics to seven games in the playoffs. Now the Hawks are a team poised to make the playoffs annually. Nevertheless, the future of this team relies on the decisions made in the front office.

Hawks management has another tough decision to make regarding forward Josh Smith. The talent is undeniable and the potential is there, but Smith has yet to break through in Atlanta. His quarrels with former Coach Mike Woodson were a hot topic in Atlanta, but at the end of the day it was Woodson who was given his walking papers. Under Larry Drew, Smith took his game to another level nearly averaging a double-double.

Trade rumors have followed Smith all season and he seems to be ready to move on. Many people believe that Smith is improperly utilized in Atlanta, and would be more efficient if he took his talents elsewhere. Smith is fully aware of his situation in Atlanta and already has his preferences. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports:

“Smith hasn’t requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston CelticsNew Jersey Nets,Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him.

If Smith were able to take his talents elsewhere, he could enjoy the benefit of a fresh start as he aims to a star in the league. His penchant for jacking up jump shots did not sit well with Atlanta fans, and it clearly showed in the playoffs against the Bulls. On the other hand, the Hawks have many problems to fix before becoming a serious contender for a championship. Time will tell if Atlanta has found their point guard of their future in Jeff Teague, who made a name for himself in the playoffs. Yet, they lack bench depth and don’t have a true big man. A legitimate center would allow the Hawks to move Horford to the power forward position where he is better suited.

Should the Hawks move Josh Smith, both parties would likely benefit. Josh Smith, under the right tutelage, could become a 20-10-5 guy in this league and finally become that All-Star forward. The Hawks, depending on what they receive back, could take another step in becoming contenders in a much stronger Eastern Conference.