It was widely reported that the Atlanta Hawks were actively trying to trade all-star caliber power forward Josh Smith, with the Philadelphia 76ers just one of the teams thrown into the proverbial hat for J-Smoove. Reports from a number of sources suggested a deal involving former No. 2 overall pick Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes in exchange for Smith was discussed. Alas, the deal never happened. This is a good thing for the Sixers.
It is widely accepted that Josh Smith is seeking a five-year, $98 million contract this offseason. In today’s NBA climate, he’ll probably get it. I just hope that it isn’t the Sixers that give into such demands. While he is a very good player, he wouldn’t improve Philly enough to justify such a huge outlay.
Andrew Bynum hasn’t even played a game for the Philadelphia 76ers, but it’s almost unthinkable that Philly doesn’t try to sign the former Los Angeles Laker center to a long-term deal. When he’s on, there’s no better offensive big man in the NBA. Bynum completely changes the outlook of the Sixers team; J-Smoove would have only slightly improved this team. Signing both is financially possible, it’s just that it would kill any kind of flexibility that the front office would have when signing free agents or attempting to make trades. Bynum should be the priority.
It can’t be argued that the Sixers have been simply awful this season. The only two players that can be happy with their seasons exploits so far are Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young. As a small-ball 4, Young has put up some solid numbers, averaging close to 15 points per game and more than seven rebounds. Smith’s 17.4 points per game and 8.6 rebounds are a slight improvement at first glance–but Smith takes 2.9 more field-goal attempts. Young is a more efficient player, demands less of the ball and is on a much smaller contract. Trading for Smith made little sense to me and I’m glad 76ers president Rod Thorn felt the same.
To conclude, trading for Smith would have kept the Sixers where they are at the moment: good enough for a low playoff seed but not good enough to compete for a championship. That’s would have been with the notion that Smith would have definitely re-signed in Philadelphia. If he upped sticks and left, Sixers would have given up a bright prospect in Turner for what? A good player for a few months. As I mentioned earlier, trading for J-Smoove made little sense–and I’m glad it never materialized.