In Monday's post about second-half storylines and specifically this week's NBA trading deadline, there was brief mention about the Wizards rumored interest in Atlanta's Josh Smith. The rumor mill put out a list of possible destinations for the 27-year-old forward and Washington was on it. Google "Josh Smith rumors" and you will so were plenty of other teams.
Overnight slightly more specificity came regarding the Wizards and Hawks engaging in a trade. ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted out the following:
In talks with ATL for Josh Smith, Wizards have said all but 3 players available: J Wall, B Beal & Nene— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 19, 2013
Sounds intriguing, especially if you are in the camp that believes the Wizards must make an aggressive move, like right now. Obviously there are more rumors than actual finalized trades and seemingly a quarter of the league is on the verge of adding the All-Star level talent who has never been selected as an All-Star.
Here are some reasons why the idea of Smith landing in the Nation's Capital before Thursday's 3 p.m. trade deadline is both curious and perhaps not ideal.
*The tone of Broussard's tweet makes it sound like the Wizards are aggressively interested in acquiring Smith. Eh, if you eliminate Wall, Beal and Nene, sounds more as if they would take Smith if the Hawks turn desperate. Granted, this headline - "Hawks seem determined to deal Josh Smith"- makes it sound like they are, which is the bigger picture. More than any other player in the league, the upcoming free agent tops the most likely to get traded list. It's just hard imagining another team not being able to top any Wizards offer if they remove their three most interesting players.
*Ah, free agency, the ultimate reason why the Eastern Conference contending Hawks are open to moving one of their core pieces. Smith is set to hit the open market this season. According to SBNation's Tom Ziller, based on Smith's time in the league, he is eligible for a 5-year contract worth $97.5 million (Ziller notes that the total cost could come down some based on the new collective bargaining agreement, but not by much).
So not only would a trade cost the Wizards players, they would also have to fork over a massive contract. Seeing as Wall is eligible for a contract extension this summer, it seems unlikely management would want to take on another major financial discussion - and for another player not all are convinced is a "franchise" talent.
*Then there is the on-court fit. The springy Smith, who is averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks this season, does indeed post the type of numbers fantasy owners love. He also makes enough head-scratching decisions that turn coach's hair gray. Shot selection is not always the ball-dominant forward's strong suit. The high-riser loves roaming on defense for the next block attempt.
Over the last month Randy Wittman has the Wizards playing as a cohesive unit. Playing in his ninth season, seems unlikely Smith suddenly changes his freewheeling ways.
If the Wizards are to make a notable move, adding a go-to scorer and preferably one that plays small forward is ideal. Smith produces points, but primarily in the open court, at the rim or from launching 3-pointers. The power forward is not the type of one-on-one scorer with an array of moves a team confidently hands the ball to in the final minutes and says get us a bucket.
No doubt the Wizards are much improved compared to their horrendous start, but they remain far removed from landing a playoff berth this season. Unless they believe otherwise or are set on handing Smith a major contract, hard to fathom why this deal goes down.