Josh Smith interests the Phoenix Suns, and HoopsWorld.com's Alex Kennedy reports that the team in desperate need of a franchise player will make a run at the Atlanta Hawks power forward if not before the trade deadline then this offseason.
Phoenix considers Smith a cornerstone type of player, according to Kennedy.
Smith's contract ends following this season, and his status with Atlanta has been up in the air. While the versatile forward has not demanded a trade, his agent, Wallace Prather, has been in contact with General Manager Danny Ferry regarding his clients' future. They are expected to meet again this week.
The Suns have cap space as is, and they'll have even more with several players coming off the books following the 2012-13 season. That said, any trade for Smith would have to appease Atlanta, and Phoenix is limited in its assets. Center Marcin Gortat is one player that has substantial value, and the Suns also have expiring contracts in win Wesley Johnson, backup point guard Sebastian Telfair and a partially guaranteed deal with Shannon Brown for next season.
Phoenix signed restricted free agent Eric Gordon to an offer sheet this summer before the New Orleans Hornets matched the deal. That and the Rudy Gay trade not involving Phoenix means the Suns could have room to sign another max-level deal with a player along with Smith.
UPDATE (Feb 1, 2013):
For whatever it's worth, Arizona Sports John Gambadoro says that this report is false:
Kennedy stands by his story:
Personally, Robert Saver could go on national TV and swear that this rumor was false and it wouldn't mean the Suns don't end up getting (or trying to get) Josh Smith. At the same time, there certainly could be parties outside of Phoenix interested in driving up the perception that Smith is in demand.
They call it the rumor GAME for a reason. Everyone has an agenda. Trust no one (except me -- always trust me).