NBA Sunday: The Josh Smith Contract Reality
Here is the reality of the situation regarding Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith entering the 2012-13 campaign.
Smith will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Smith will be among the select few considered to be the most coveted members of his free agent class.
Smith will not sign an early extension with the Hawks, not because he doesn’t want to play in Atlanta, but because the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) makes it foolish business to give the franchise an early autograph.
If Smith were to sign an extension before June 30, the deal could only be for a maximum of three years. By simply waiting until the start of free agency Smith would be eligible to sign a five year contract with the club. The simple math in this instance shows if Smith signed early he’d be leaving at the very least $25-30 million on the table.
Expect Smith’s contract situation will play out in the media on a nightly basis similar to the way Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard’s have in recent years. Note Howard and Paul are also in the same position as Smith this season.
Smith played the majority of last season with a trade demand looming in the air, but according to several teammates, the forward is comfortable with the direction the Hawks are heading after the hiring of president of basketball operations and general manager Danny Ferry. Shortly after being hired, Ferry traded six-time All-Star guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn and longtime starting small forward Marvin Williams to Utah in deals which netted the team close to $30 million in salary cap room next summer.
Although Johnson is still an elite shooting guard, the Hawks will now have the flexibility to become active players in free agency or trade, which wasn’t the case with his deal on the books.
Smith has said in the past he wants to consistently contend with the league’s elite. The Hawks have reached the playoffs for five consecutive campaigns but it’s hard to envision the current team being better than last season’s edition which won 40 games in a lockout shortened schedule filled with injuries.
While the mainstream storyline will center on Smith’s signing an extension during the season, a question that hasn’t jumped to the forefront is how the franchise will deal with the forward near the trade deadline if it becomes apparent he’s leaning toward departing in free agency.
But for now when you’re reading reports about Smith not wanting to sign an extension with the Hawks, please understand the math and how the CBA is structured. It is more advantageous for Smith to play the waiting game and isn’t a reflection of his long-term plans with the organization. It all comes down to dollars and common sense.
Quincy Miller Making The Pro Adjustment, Being Patient
Entering the NBA for most rookies proves to be a humbling experience. Guys routinely go from being the most dominant player on their pee-wee, middle school, high school, AAU and collegiate teams to in some situations rarely played bench fodder as rookies in the league.
Quincy Miller was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the No. 38 overall pick in this year’s draft. With the Nuggets expected to be amongst one of the top five teams in the Western Conference, Miller’s court time as a rookie may be limited.
The depth of talent at the NBA level from starter to the end of bench reserve is one area of the game, which Miller has noticed right away.
“This is the NBA now,” Miller told HOOPSWORLD. “This is way different than college. I feel like everybody here is talented. There is no drop-off in talent. Everybody here is talented and everybody works hard.”
Miller has the frame and athleticism to play small forward at the pro level but the position could be the Nuggets’ deepest with Andre Iguodala, Wilson Chandler, Corey Brewer, Danilo Gallinari and Jordan Hamilton all capable of logging positions on the wing.
To crack the rotation as a rookie is going to be a tough task and Miller said he’s going to have to be patient while waiting for his opportunity.
“I’m definitely going to have to be more patient,” Miller said. “We have so many great players on this team it’s going to be hard to get playing time at first but at the same time it’s a long season.”
The Nuggets’ veterans have taken Miller under their respective wings and are trying to get him up to speed quickly. Unlike last season’s rookie class, Miller will benefit from a full training camp to get acclimated with the pro game.
“Basically Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller,” Miller said on which veterans have been helping him the most. “Those guys have been teaching me about the game. Anthony Carter too. Those three guys have been teaching me everything.”
Nothing is coming easy and Miller readily admits the transition to the pro ranks have been a fight.
“Every day is a battle,” Miller said. “You better be ready.”
More On Tracy McGrady And Chinese Basketball
Former two-time scoring champion Tracy McGrady’s star power may have flickered in the NBA after an assortment of injuries robbed his explosiveness, but the forward still has global appeal evident by his one-year deal to play with the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles of the Chinese Basketball Association.
McGrady’s former teammate with the Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague spent time in China this past summer and noted how big the NBA game is there and how the fans have very strong love for McGrady.
“It’s huge,” Teague said of the NBA’s impact in China. “They love basketball over there. I didn’t think they were going to know me. I got off the plane and people were screaming my name. I didn’t think they would have a clue who I was.”
“They love basketball,” Teague continued. “They asked me about Tracy McGrady. They love Tracy McGrady over there. It was a lot of fun.”
McGrady hasn’t ruled out a return to the NBA, but could find more lucrative avenues overseas for the duration of his playing career.
Now questions will start to shift on whether McGrady deserves a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
McGrady’s accomplishments in the NBA include seven All-Star appearances, two scoring titles, 18,000 career points and seven All-NBA team selections.
Let the debate begin.