Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Atlanta Hawks are gauging interest in forward Josh Smith. The relevant passages in the story:
Smith hasn’t requested a trade, but has privately told league friends that the Boston Celtics, New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic are his preferred destinations should the Hawks decide to move him.
“The relationship has run its course,” said a league source with knowledge of the dynamic.
Hawks GM Rick Sund has long coveted Kevin Garnett(notes) and Ray Allen(notes) – two aging Celtics entering the final years of contracts – but Celtics GM Danny Ainge has yet to show an inclination to break up his core for next season.
Aside from Smith’s interest in Boston, and Sund’s interest in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, it’s unclear whether Danny Ainge has any return interest in Smith. Or whether he’d act on it if he did.
As we’ve recently discussed, Smith is exactly the kind of player that Boston could find intriguing as part of the coming rebuilding. His game matches well with Rajon Rondo’s (and the two were roommates and close friends at Oak Hill Academy). He’s still young (25) and a defensive force and he fits with Doc Rivers’ recent comments about needing a more athletic team. And with the coaching upheaval in Atlanta the last few years, there’s a possibility a stable environment, a more democratic offense, and an elite point guard could all help Smith make the leap as he enters his prime.
Still, any pursuit of Smith comes with a few problems:
CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely reports that so far the C’s have had “no discussions whatsoever” on Smith (although, they’re not going to tip their hand if they have, are they?) so don’t get your hopes up for Smith because this is more an example of the kind of decision Ainge will be dealing with over the next 12-14 months, rather than anything actively being discussed.
Still, I’d submit that, practically speaking, for Boston, the summer of 2012 has already begun.