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NBA Trades: Could the OKC Thunder make a play for Atlanta’s Josh Smith?

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The NBA trade deadline is less than two months away now and a team like the Oklahoma City Thunder could be in position to make a deal right around then.

The Thunder are said to not be interested in making any trades as of right now but there’s always a chance that a deal Thunder GM Sam Presti can’t pass up will come along.

Anderson Varejao is the most common named linked to Oklahoma City trade rumors but Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio thinks OKC could make a play for Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks.

 

If Varejao seems like a stretch for Thunder fans, then Smith definitely does.

Smith is in the last year of his contract with the Hawks making $13.2 million this season. He’s having a great season with Atlanta but with his future uncertain with the team, Atlanta could elect to unload him instead of trying to keep him.

Like with a Varejao trade, the Thunder have assets that may attract a team like the Hawks. The value of Smith and Varejao isn’t that different either. Since Smith is in a contract year it will be harder for Atlanta to hang on to him past the trade deadline. Also, Varejao is having a career-year at the center position which gives him a little extra value over Smith.

The Thunder would definitely have to involve a few of their 2013 first round picks in a trade for Smith. Then they’d probably throw in Jeremy Lamb and/or Perry Jones III. For Smith, they’d probably have no problem including both.

The Thunder would have to use Kevin Martin for the salaries to match up. Then ideally, OKC would throw in Kendrick Perkins while Atlanta throws in Kyle Korver but that is extremely wishful thinking for Thunder fans.

The biggest issue for the Thunder would be the prospect of keeping Smith long-term. They definitely aren’t interested in renting Smith for this season unlike how they may end up doing that with Martin.

The Thunder would have to re-sign Smith after this season and he would have to take a pay cut to stay with the team. The Thunder would also definitely have to get rid of Perkins either by trade or amnestying after the season to have any kind of chance at keeping Smith.

It’s actually not that impossible of a situation for the Thunder who are already going to have to pay Perkins $8.4 and $9.1 million in the next two seasons. Then if the Thunder are hoping Martin re-signs and takes less money, the equivalent of Perkins and Martin would equal around the same amount it would take to keep Smith.

Acquiring Smith would make perfect sense for the Thunder. We already know just how deadly of a small ball team they are right now and throwing Smith into the mix would enhance that to the fullest.

The Thunder would be totally committed to small ball similar to the Miami Heat. Their centers would consist of Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison splitting minutes while Kevin Durant, Thabo Sefolosha and Smith make up the wing positions.

As we get closer to the trade deadline, the Thunder may turn from a team who isn’t interested in making a trade to one that is listening to offers. Every team has to at least listen. And when Smith’s name comes up, the Thunder definitely will be.

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Tags: Atlanta Hawks Josh Smith Oklahoma City Thunder

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