Hawks Positioning for Howard, Paul?
That’s the summary, but let’s zoom out to the big picture. I’m not sure anybody has put together all the dots on this, but consider the following:
• Josh Smith is from Atlanta.
• Dwight Howard is from Atlanta.
• Dwight Howard and Josh Smith played together in high school and remain friends; in fact, Howard was the best man in Smith’s wedding.
• Chris Paul is not from Atlanta but is from North Carolina and wanted to play in Atlanta coming out of college.
• Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith all will be free agents next summer.
• Dwight Howard’s main target in 2013 free agency, Brooklyn, just used up all its potential cap space in Monday’s trade with Atlanta.
• Atlanta now has only two players under contract for 2013-14, center Al Horford and first-round pick John Jenkins, and will have well north of $40 milion in cap room.
• Atlanta could rather easily trade Horford, an All-Star center with a below-market contract, to create more room if needed.
Yes, this is the real endgame for Atlanta: not just Howard, but Howard and CP3. The Hawks now are in position to do it and can get to that point in several ways.