Atlanta Hawks Reportedly Determined to Move Josh Smith Before Trade Deadline

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IFebruary 18, 2013

According to the Atlanta Hawks, Josh Smith is as good as gone. 

Well, at least that's what they are reportedly telling other teams, according to ESPN's Marc Stein:

There's a chance that this is just some type of bargaining tool the Hawks are trying out, but it's not all that surprising that a Smith deal is reportedly on the horizon. Atlanta hasn't been shy about shopping the ultra-athletic power forward, and teams have been expressing heavy interest over the past few weeks. 

The serious rumors started with the Brooklyn Nets, who were reportedly willing to part with Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a draft pick, but those talks quickly fell apart. 

Then, it was revealed that the San Antonio Spurs were interested in Smith. Then the Dallas Mavericks. Then the Milwaukee Bucks

Stein also notes that the Celtics are intrigued by the 27-year-old, but would likely need another team to get involved:

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski also believes the Celtics and Nets are strong players for Smith:

So, we've got a team confident it will be able to give up a player. We've clearly got several other teams wanting to trade for said player. Now all we need is someone to give up enough for Atlanta to bite before the upcoming deadline. 

And it's likely that will happen, because Smith is a serious game-changer. 

His athleticism makes him one of the most unique defenders in the league, as he can guard several different positions and blocks more than two shots per game.

While his offense hasn't been as efficient as many might hope for, he has seriously caught fire over the past month as trade rumors have heated up. 

Since the beginning of the new year, he is averaging 18.3 points on 48.4 percent shooting to go with 9.2 rebounds and 4.7 assists per contest. 

The race to acquire the unique big man with a versatile skill set isn't surprising, and with teams reportedly competing for his services, it wouldn't be surprising to see Atlanta get a nice haul for the soon-to-be free agent. 

We'll be sure to keep you updated as details inevitably break.

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