Josh Smith: Hawks Forward's Contract Expectations Will Keep Him in Atlanta

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIFebruary 12, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks complains to his coach during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on November 14, 2012 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Josh Smith has wanted out of Atlanta for a long time, but he will probably have to wait until the end of the 2013 NBA season for that happen.

There have been trade rumors that have sprung up in the past few seasons about teams interested in acquiring the 6’9” swingman and about him wanting to get escape the Atlanta Hawks.

Why are the latest rumors of the Brooklyn Nets’ heavy interest in him any different than before? A deal would have to be very enticing for the Hawks to give up on their season when they know it is the last they will have Smith’s services.

Smith is a versatile scorer and athletic power forward that can play down low and out on the wing. That versatility and ability to effectively play both positions is rare and something many teams covet around the league.

There is one thing that comes along with a player who has those skills and knows it. A big contract is awaiting Smith on the open market, and he’s not going to settle for anything less than a maximum contract once he hits free agency this summer.

Atlanta does not feel Smith is worth max dollars, and there are likely plenty of teams around the league that would agree with that sentiment. Smith has never made an All-Star appearance and his 17.28 PER is just 72nd in the NBA.

Teams who want to make a play for the 27-year-old have to be ready to shell out that type of cash. They also have to be aware that he isn’t guaranteed to stay next season if things don’t work out this spring, unless of course they work out a sign-and-trade prior to the deal.

Once Feb. 21 passes, we will likely see Smith still on the Hawks roster and the never-ending rumors about where he will choose to play in 2013-14 will begin.

At least that’s what makes the most sense out all of these rumors.