Josh Smith was not traded before Thursday's NBA deadline, and will include Atlanta among his free-agent options at season's end. But a person familiar with Smith's plans told USA TODAY that Smith is "highly unlikely" to re-sign with the Hawks.
Smith's 17.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and the Hawks' hesitation to commit to a maxed-out extension put him at the top of coveted trade targets prior to the deadline. His numbers this season are slightly above his averages from nine seasons in Atlanta.
The Hawks reportedly were on the verge of dealing the 27-year-old to the Bucks until Atlanta GM Danny Ferry pulled the plug at the last minute.
"We value Josh," Ferry told NBA TV. "He's been important to our program here the last several years, and I've enjoyed working with him this year. He's an important part of this team, and we look forward to finishing the year well with him."
Smith has said publicly that he's worth a max contract, estimated to be worth $94 million over five years, and told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“I feel like I’m a max player,” Smith said. And yes, that is the first time he has said that.
“I feel I bring a lot to the table. I have a lot of versatility. For what I do and what I give this ball club, I feel like I’m worth it.”Smith again: “There shouldn’t be any hesitation. I’m Josh Smith, I’m not anybody else. I ‘m not Michael Jordan, I’m not LeBron James, I’m not Brook Lopez. I’m Josh Smith. You can’t look at what might’ve happened with another person. Let’s say Joe [Johnson]. You can’t say, ‘I’m skeptical of giving another person that’ because of whatever they feel like happened.”