Monta Ellis The Key To A Josh Smith Deal?
The Milwaukee Bucks are at the front of the line regarding Atlanta’s Josh Smith. Word is the Smith is at least open to the idea of playing with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, meaning any deal with Atlanta would either require a third team or for Atlanta to take back less desirable assets.
It is believed Atlanta wants Monta Ellis in any deal for Smith and that might be a deal breaker for Milwaukee. There have been reports that Ellis will opt out of his deal and explore free agency in July, so the threat of losing two core pieces in July might change Milwaukee’s stance.
The Bucks have been trying to find a home for Samuel Dalembert and Drew Gooden for most of the season and with Smith on their radar, off-season signee Ersan Ilyasova is said to be available too. None of those pieces work for Atlanta, however if both sides can find a third team willing to take on some of the contract dollars and return better assets to Atlanta a deal could be worked out.
League sources say Atlanta is playing this one to the wire and while they have had substantial talks with Milwaukee; Washington and Brooklyn are still firmly in the discussion.
The Hawks are watching a number of scenarios, namely what the LA Lakers decide to do with Dwight Howard, once it’s clear that Howard is not available the Hawks are expected to move on a Josh Smith deal which means moving Smith may come down to the wire.
– Steve Kyler