The potential marriage of Josh Smith and the Phoenix Suns has been wanted by Suns fans for years. Now that his contract is expiring this summer, the Atlanta Hawks are reportedly interested in getting some return for Smith in the event he leaves the Hawks' nest.
Once Smith hinted at wanting max money this summer, the Hawks got the message that the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent could be more interested in dollars than loyalty. If a team needing a star-quality player offered enough money this summer, then Smith could be gone with nothing to show for it.
Rumors of the Suns wanting Smith at this year's deadline have been shot down several times, even at the highest levels of the organization, but the Suns' name still keeps popping up.
Ferry is shopping Smith hard, and was in Houston for the weekend. Two teams to watch, according to league executives: Dallas and Phoenix. Phoenix went after Hornets guard Eric Gordon pretty aggressively in free agency last summer, signing him to a maximum offer sheet before the Hornets matched it, and is in need of a high-caliber talent.
Dallas is trying to reload on the fly with Dirk Nowitzki slowed by age and injury.
Of course, no names have been mentioned coming back from the Suns and there is little reason for the Suns to actually take on Josh Smith at this point in time. They could just wait and make a huge offer in July.
Smith makes $13.2 million this year and could make as much as $16.4 million next year (the first of four years, escalating at 4.5% per year). Being an unrestricted free agent, Smith could take that big contract from anyone in the NBA - not just the Suns. So, trading for Smith could be a 30-game rental.
Trading Smith for Marcin Gortat straight up, which the Suns could do this week under the CBA, would save Atlanta tons of money but cut a big swath through the Suns projected summer cap room. Smith would make up to $9 million in 2013-14 more than Gortat was going to make.
Logically, the Suns would want Atlanta to absorb more 2013-14 money. But would Atlanta take on Beasley or Frye's $6 million contract? Unlikely. Other than that, the Suns contracts are kids (Morris, Marshall, draft picks), Dudley, Tucker, Dragic and Scola. Scola can't be traded this week, and Dudley and Dragic are way too good to include with Gortat on a rental that might only last 30 games.
It's a good deal if the Suns could get Atlanta to take back Beasley or Frye with Gortat. Then the Suns have one of two outcomes: (a) a long-term borderline all-star talent or (b) tons more cap room to start over.
If Atlanta doesn't want to absorb any more 2013-14 money than, say, Marcin Gortat, then the Suns have to decide if Smith is their big summer free agent target anyway.
But if so, why not just wait till summer to sign him outright without giving up any talent?