With Rudy Gay now off the trade market, NBA trade rumors will latch onto a new player. That player appears to be Josh Smith.
And it did not take long for something to coalesce in the rumor mill. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld reports the Suns have initiated preliminary discussions with the Hawks for Josh Smith. And, he reports, if Phoenix does not get Smith they would plan on pursuing him in a sign-and-trade deal. That thought, might push trade discussions past the trade deadline.
As Kennedy points out, the Suns are looking for a "big-name" player to jumpstart their post-Steve Nash era. They went after Eric Gordon in free agency only to see New Orleans match the max offer Phoenix offered Gordon. The Suns clearly do not want to be down too long. And Smith, if his reporting that the Suns view Smith as a franchise cornerstone, would fit that bill.
That seems to be a win-win for Atlanta, Smith and Phoenix.
The Hawks inability to sign an extension and their somewhat open shopping of Smith, along with Smith being extremely noncommittal about his future in Atlanta, shows that the Hawks do not view him as the franchise cornerstone that the Suns might.
Phoenix has some attractive pieces to offer while helping Atlanta maintain cap flexibility. Marcin Gortat has two years remaining on his contract and could be a nice defensive pairing next to Al Horford for this year's Playoff run. He would keep the team competitive for sure.
The Suns also have options to deal in Shannon Brown (also two years left on his deal) and expiring deals in Sebastian Telfair and Jermaine O'Neal. Phoenix also has draft picks to offer. So if the Suns are that determined to get Smith they could certainly do it.
Kennedy reports though that the Bobcats and Mavericks could also be interested in making a play. It will be intriguing to see what develops in the next three weeks.
Phoenix right now is last in the Western Conference and have some interesting players. Michael Beasley was signed to a four-year deal and has played with mixed results (as he has throughout his career). Goran Dragic has also been decent at point guard. The Suns are still searching for that real superstar — not to mention a coach.
If the Suns can get Smith and if Smith can deliver it could be a good deal with all the veterans around him. Or it could be another player finding someone that overvalues him and giving him a max contract. The Suns seem to fit that bill more after toying with Eric Gordon last summer.