First the Hawks forward was rumored to be heading to LA for Pau Gasol, then to Milwaukee (but not for Monta Ellis), now there’s talk that he and Dwight Howard might want to reprise their AAU career in the NBA. It’s a lot of buzz for a guy who’s spent his entire career playing outside the NBA’s spotlight cities, and has never been a real marquee name. But maybe the proof is in the pudding, as the Hawks are doing just fine without Joe Johnson, largely thanks to Smith.
Today’s Sunday, and that of course means new MVP rankings from Chris Sheridan, so check those out before you move on to the rest of the news.
- Here’s Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe with some news on J-Smoove: “Smith… felt for the past few years that he should have been the Hawks’ primary option. And while he is enjoying a solid ninth season, he also mentioned that he felt he should be handsomely compensated this summer with a maximum contract. A maximum deal would start at five years and about $90 million, which scared Ferry, who, like several league executives, doesn’t believe Smith is worth that. But Ferry decided to keep Smith, who is now potentially in his final days as a Hawk, trying to push the rather insignificant franchise to a top-division playoff seed. “It was total chaos, for two or three weeks,” said Smith. “It’s good just to concentrate, knowing where I’m at, at least until the end of the season, and now we can focus on what we can do to make a playoff push and jockeying for position, knowing that it’s a real tight race. It’s good to be able to focus on basketball.” “
- If you just can’t get enough of reading about Dwight Howard, Sam Amick of USA Today has a long feature on him up today in advance of Dwight’s return to Orlando. Here’s a particularly interesting paragraph: “With Howard’s free agency looming and this Lakers team that so many saw as title contenders pushing to reach the playoffs, the notion that he may not spend his next few years as an Los Angeles A-lister is stunning, considering the fanfare that surrounded his arrival. Howard, even with the Lakers’ recent successful stretch in which they’ve won 16 of 22 games and finally reached playoff position in the Western Conference, is still taking the L.A. confidential approach in discussing his future. “The only thing that matters is right now,” he says.”