Josh Smith A Hawk, For Now
Josh Smith may not hear the groans from the Philips Arena crowd when he squares up to take a 3-pointer this season.
“You haven’t seen the roster?” Smith turned around a reporter’s question about his long-range shooting plans on a rebuilt Hawks roster. “We’ve got Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, Louis Williams, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Tolliver. Am I missing anyone? Jeff Teague. … So there we go. That answers that question. I didn’t even say my name did I? Call me mid-range shawty.”
Smith is one of only five returning players from last season’s team as practice begin Tuesday for the 2012-13 season. He remained as the Hawks, under the direction of new general manager Danny Ferry, rebuilt a franchise that made the playoffs five straight seasons. Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams are no longer here. Smith is the longest-tenured Hawk and enters his ninth season, all with his hometown team after being drafted in 2004 out of high school.
It wasn’t a guarantee he would remain in Atlanta. Smith heard his name come up in one trade rumor after another. Then again, he’s used to it.
Smith, 26, is entering the final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Ferry told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that it is “unlikely” the two sides will reach a new deal before the offseason. It doesn’t mean Smith is playing his last season in Atlanta. He could sign an extension before June 30, but it would be for a maximum of three years. After that date he could sign a new contract for a maximum of five years and worth just under $100 million. There is risk involved, for player and coach, but one both sides are willing to make.
“My mindset is making it to the playoffs,” Smith said. “I’m not worrying about any contract discussions. I think the team and I are on the same page. We know what we are going to do. My main concern is making the playoffs and winning basketball games.”