|Boston has interest in Josh Smith. (Getty Images)|
ESPN notes that the only probable target in return for Atlanta would be Paul Pierce. That makes little sense for the Hawks, who are looking at going younger and more athletic and clearing cap space, and Pierce has a player option of $15 million for next season. There's just no real win there for Atlanta.
Which is why, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports, the talks haven't gone anywhere yet. A more likely landing spot? Phoenix.
The Hawks are believed to be seeking a combination of expiring contracts, young players and draft picks in exchange for Smith, whose expressed desire for a five-year, approximately $90 million max contract has cooled the market for him. Rival executives continue to believe that the Suns have been aggressive in their pursuit of Smith and other trades. But even with a potential lottery pick from the Lakers in the Steve Nash deal, execs are skeptical that Phoenix has enough attractive young players to complete the deal. The Nets and Celtics have inquired about Smith, but its too early to say where those talks are going.
You wonder if the Celtics need a third team to bring in and make this deal happen. But here's the trick with that. You'd have to find a team with young assets and good players who would supposedly want to bring in Pierce. Then they'd send their young assets and picks to Atlanta, and Atlanta sends Smith to Boston.
But what team is going to give up a haul like that for Pierce? The only option with any sort of shot of that happening is the Clippers, and it's hard to see them going for both Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the real player whom they want.
It's a complex situation. The only thing that's clear at this moment is that Atlanta is definitively trending towards trading Josh Smith.