Friday, October 26, 2007
The Atlanta Hawks may rue the day they didn’t sign Josh Smith to an extension
All in a day’s work for the man known as J-Smooth: 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 90% from the line, 1-1 from three-point distance against the New Orleans Hornets on the road--and that was in 16 minutes. Josh Smith, the high school to pro, do-it-all guard forward (who’s link to his profile page at NBA.com doesn’t seem to be working at the moment) is probably the Hawks most versatile asset offensively (aerial acrobatic shots) and defensively (2.9 blocks per game last year…for a guard!) after Atlanta legend Dominique “The Human Highlight Film” Wilkins.
Josh Smith is currently represented by two agents: Brian Dyke and Wallace Prather who were unable to come to an agreement with the Hawks’ brain trust this past Monday. With that said, both parties have decided to suspend talks until the end of the upcoming season.
Sekou Smith of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution added:
“At this point let's just say negotiations have stopped," Prather said. "They made their one offer in July, we didn't agree with it, and they really haven't shown any interest in doing anything else."
NBA teams such as the Cleveland Cavaliers (Anderson Verejao and Sasha Pavlovic this year, and Drew Gooden last summer) and Golden State Warriors (Mickael Pietrus and Matt Barns this year) seem to be more discerning these days as to whom to “break the proverbial bank” with. If you notice, I didn’t put the Hawks in that category because they overpaid Joe Johnson (to the tune of $70 million) a couple of years ago when they lured him away from the Phoenix Suns.
Speaking about Varejao and Pavlovic, Brian Windhorst of the Akron Beacon Journal breaks down the specifics of NBA dollars in one of his recent blog entries:
“Here is the nitty gritty: Money is so tight in the NBA right now that agents are getting radical. Only two free agents got more than the mid-level exception this summer while changing teams, Rashard Lewis and Darko Milicic. Guess how many free agents got the full mid-level exception for max years this summer? Try zero. Three years ago, there were around a dozen, last year there were just four. They were Joel Pryzbilla (Blazers), Nazr Mohammed (Pistons), Vladimir Radmanovic (Lakers) and Jared Jeffries (Knicks). Think any of those teams are happy with those deals at this point? Well, it’s showing in the marketplace.
Last season, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban correctly predicted this summer would be a “nuclear winter” for free agents. For the most part, he was right. Guess what, a peek at next summer looks like it will even be worse because there is less money and better free agents. After heavy spending from 2004-2006 (including a big salary-cap jump in ‘05), many teams are very close to the luxury tax these days and spending likely isn’t going back up until the summer of 2009.”
In my mind, someone (the Hawks or someone else) will eventually give Josh Smith a contract with a lot of zero’s on it. However, I anticipate that it won’t be the kind of compensation he was expecting.
Will someone then break the bank for him?
Possible. If he has a monster year in 07’-08’. Heck, Jerome James got his paycheck after two monster playoff series a couple of years ago, and has done little (far too little) since then. So why not J-Smooth, who has done (WAY too) much to this point, get his due?
I don’t make the decisions upstairs, but signing people like Speedy Claxton (who’s knees may keep him out of action for awhile) and not Josh Smith just doesn’t make any sense!
The Hawks may end up ruing the day they let Josh walk…because he can next year, as he will be a restricted free agent who can sign with any team he wants.
Now playing: Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous Girl (Featuring Timbaland)