With the 2013 NBA Trade Deadline rapidly approaching, the hottest name on the market is Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks. In the midst of his contract year, Smith has garnered trade interest from numerous NBA franchises.
Unfortunately, J-Smoove just can't win with the current list of potential destinations.
To be clear, this isn't to say that Smith wouldn't win games. Instead, it is to acknowledge that there is one major hindrance in each of the prospective trades that he could be involved in.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the list of potential landing spots is down to three.
Adrian Wojnarowski @WojVerticalNBA
Among teams and officials involved in Josh Smith talks, the three most likely destinations right now: Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Phoenix.2013-2-20 20:50:48
Although attractive as options, each team has their set issues for J-Smoove.
From fit to assets, there doesn't seem to be a way for Smith and the Hawks to make a clean cut. Instead, we would likely see a deal that leads to questionable repercussions.
Chances are, a deal is going to go down, either way.
In terms of Josh Smith playing for the Brooklyn Nets, this is a virtually perfect fit. Not only would Smith be surrounded by star power, but his flaws would be hidden amidst a deep roster.
Unfortunately, Brooklyn doesn't have the pieces necessary to make a trade to acquire him.
Per Chris Broussard of ESPN New York, the Nets had previously offered MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries and a future first round draft pick. Sam Amick of USA Today reports that their offer hasn't changed.
Neither has Hawks general manager Danny Ferry's stance on the deal—he still hasn't accepted it.
Brooks and the draft choice are certainly enticing, as each provide Atlanta with a chance to build for the future. Unfortunately, Humphries is a role player making $12.0 million in 2013-14.
With Atlanta preparing for a financially flexible period of free agency, it's quite unlikely that they take on such a hefty deal.
For that reason, the chances of seeing Smith re-unite with Joe Johnson in Brooklyn are slim. There are other deals on the table that could be more attractive to the franchise, even if they aren't to Smith.
Players may own free agency, but those without a no-trade clause will suffer through the trade deadline.
According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, Josh Smith wants to play with both Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis—not one or the other. This calls for the Milwaukee Bucks to include shot blocking guru Larry Sanders or drop out of the conversation.
If not, they can risk trading Ellis and wish for the best when Smith becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
This creates another losing situation for Smith, as he could potentially end up in a city where he doesn't want to be. In a league in which reputations can tarnish star power, a la Dwight Howard, Smith has to be cautious of ending up where he won't re-sign.
Perhaps most threatening of all, Smith would end up with a team that few believe can contend for a title.
This is the risk for both Milwaukee and Smith in this deal. Even if he were to re-sign, the Bucks have a long way to go before they can truly make a push to win a championship.
In a small market, they may have to rely on draft picks to truly build around Smith and Jennings—inconveniently, they'd also be in position to lose draft picks to acquire Smith.
If Josh Smith were traded to the Phoenix Suns, one can't help but ask one simple question. What would be different in Phoenix as opposed to his current situation with the Atlanta Hawks?
Smith would still be the best player on a middle-of-the-road team—you know, if Phoenix can dig their way out of being 18 games below .500.
Phoenix is an appealing area for free agents due to the weather, location and overall reputation of the city. With that being said, the Suns have been landing above-average players and nothing more since Amar'e Stoudemire departed in 2010.
In other words, Phoenix's supporting cast could lead to Smith leaving town after just one half-season.
As for Smith, he would be going to a team that is currently 18-36. Even if he would be granted an opportunity to be "the man," Smith would be entering a less than attractive situation.
After evaluating all three finalists, Smith simply can't win with his potential trade destinations.