Hawks forward Josh Smith is entering the final season of his current five-year, $58 million contract, but the team isn't likely to re-sign him before the end of this season Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported. Although Hawks GM Danny Ferry "value[s] Josh as a player," a new contract before the end of the season is unlikely:
"He has worked hard this summer and I believe he is going to have great season. I’ve been in contact with his representatives," said Ferry. "That being said, I don’t expect the contract situation to be resolved until next summer."
Back in March with the trade deadline approaching, Smith had repeatedly expressed a desire to be traded:
By the end of last season Smith wanted out of Atlanta because he believed he was singled out for unfair criticism by coaches and media. Those concerns have died down for the most part this season but now Smith believes he needs a fresh start with a franchise where he can better reach his potential on and off the court.
Those sentiments appear to have subsided, and Smith has made it clear that "he is excited about the direction of the team and wants to be a part of the future in Atlanta," according to Ferry. So much so that he's made the idea of carrying the "hopes of a franchise" on his shoulders the focus of a new shoe commercial with Adidas:
Smith was the team's co-captain and led the team in points (18.8) and rebounds (9.6) last season.