Per @MaxLuckan on twitter, the Nets are front runners to secure Josh Smith. And according to Chris Broussard, the Hawks have a 60 % chance of dealing Smith and the Nets are interested.
It’s easy to see why Atlanta wants to deal Smith. After years of chasing a title behind Joe Johnson, the Hawks dealt him to Brooklyn in a cost cutting move. Danny Ferry has brought about a new era in Atlanta where the team hopes to be more fiscally responsible: something the new CBA practically mandates. So once reports surfaced that Smith seeks a max deal, it seems the writing is on the wall.
The Nets have one thing in their favor in their pursuit of Smith: money. Smith’s contract demands, and demands over where he wants to play, will scare off multiple teams around the league. Then, some teams won’t want him. So narrow things down, and Prokhorov puts the Nets in contention for Smith.
So, the Nets CAN get Smith. Other teams that have more assets may be scared to deal those assets for a guy that won’t commit to the team and wants a max deal. Enough of those teams get scared off and the Nets can work as a landing spot.
The problem: what can the Nets deal that makes Atlanta want to trade Smith, at all. Needing to match salary in any deal, Deron Joe Brook Gerald or Kris must be included in the deal. That leaves Gerald and Kris: the Nets won’t, and shouldn’t, deal their big 3.
That leaves Gerald and Kris. Starting with Gerald, with the Hawks looking to be more frugal, there’s no chance they take on his salary and the Nets would have to find a third team willing to pay Gerald through 2016: I love Gerald but good luck.
As for Kris, the talent downgrade from Josh to Kris is massive. The Hawks would want to charge the Nets more but the assets the Nets have are not that valuable. MarShon has been inconsistent in year 2, Mirza and Tyshawn are third stringers, and the Nets picks figure to be mid to late first rounders.
The Nets could reroute Kris to a third team, but interest in him was lukewarm during the Dwight saga. Maybe a team takes him on but Atlanta would have to want what that team would give up.
All told, numerous teams needing a quality power forward have better assets to deal than the Nets do. The Nets will have to hope that those teams drop out of the race for Smith due to his contract demands, and due to being scared they will not get a commitment from him in July.
Is that likely? No. But hey, the Knicks did not have the best package to offer Denver for Carmelo, and they got the deal done.