Why The Hawks Aren’t Trading Josh Smith

Lang Whitaker of Slam reports that

The big trade rumor flying around (if you’re already tired of the Shaq-to-Cleveland talk) centers on the Hawks’ Josh Smith. Several league sources told ESPN.com that the Hawks have been working hard the past few weeks to see whether they can find a taker for Smith.

The Hawks have some financial issues coming into the summer. Two key players, Mike Bibby and Marvin Williams, are free agents. So are a few others on the roster — Josh Childress, Zaza Pachulia and Ronald Murray. Although the Hawks would like to keep those players, they can’t afford to pay all of them. That has opened the door to the possibility of trading Smith, who, although talented, has a reputation as a difficult player to coach.

The Hawks have had no problem finding teams interested in Smith. The issue is the whopping $6 million trade kicker attached to his contract. The trade kicker essentially would require the team that trades for Smith to pay him the $6 million immediately. In this economic climate, many owners will balk at the payment.

“You are going to see very few owners willing to do things like that anymore,” one GM said. “I’m not saying he’s impossible to trade. There are a few owners like Paul Allen, James Dolan, Mark Cuban and maybe Daniel Gilbert who would pay the money. But there aren’t many.”

So that’s Chad’s report. Since then, I’ve been reporting the heck out of this. I spoke to multiple sources today and yesterday, and there’s a couple of things to address here:

1) Josh’s trade kicker is more like $7 million, not $6 million. (It’s actually a percentage of the money owed under the contract, not a set amount.)

2) Because the Hawks matched an offer sheet from Memphis to retain Josh, they can’t trade him for one year unless they get the consent of the player.

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