SH Blog: Suns want Josh Smith, Rubio says Lakers misusing Pau Gasol

Now that Rudy Gay has finally been traded, who is the next significant player to go before the trade deadline?

How about Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, who thinks he deserves a max deal because, well, because he’s Josh Smith?

The Phoenix Suns were highly interested in acquiring the services of Gay, but with that option out the door, their desires may be shifting towards Smith, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld:

The Suns are pursuing Josh Smith, according to multiple league sources. Phoenix will try to acquire Smith before the deadline or, if that fails, through a sign-and-trade deal next offseason.

The Suns are very interested in Smith and have had exploratory talks with the Atlanta Hawks about the 27-year-old forward. Phoenix views Smith as a franchise player who can be one of the cornerstones of the team for years to come. The Suns have been searching for a face of the franchise since Steve Nash’s departure last summer, and Smith could be exactly that. If the Hawks decide it’s time to part ways with Smith, the Suns will be one of the teams on the phone.

If the Suns trade for Smith and re-sign him over the summer, they could have as much as $20 million in cap space still left over, assuming all of their current options are declined and next year’s cap sits at $59 million as projected. That means they can add Smith and still have money to sign a second big-name free agent such as Dwight Howard or more realistic options like Monta Ellis, Andre Iguodala or Paul Millsap.

Josh Smith may or may not be a max-contract type of player, but for the Suns, it certainly beats leaving the team as is.

Onto other news from around the league:

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