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The NBA trade deadline is now only hours away so of course the rumors are flying which prompts a round of counter rumors. In this case, we have national media breathlessly reporting the Suns interest in Josh Smith while local media more plugged into the Phoenix thinking pours cold water on the flames.
Should the Phoenix Suns make an offer to Atlanta for Josh Smith? Would be make a good cornerstone player to partner with Goran Dragic and the future lottery picks? Is it worth sending Marcin Gortat and maybe Markieff Morris to the Hawks to get the multi-talented power forward?
All fun questions to ask and think about, and in light of the many trade rumors out there, it'd be criminally negligent on our part not to at least chat it out. But in this case, the situation remains what it is and that's reporters outside of Phoenix likely getting their info from agents and other teams who are speculating or simply blowing smoke while local sources are highly skeptical that the Suns want even Smith.
Here's the respected and informed Paul Coro from the Arizona Republic with the latest:
The Josh Smith rumor keeps floating and there seems to be nothing at all on the trade front for him with Phoenix. Smith could be of more interest to the Suns in free agency but he wants to be a maximum-salary player and he is no face of the franchise. Rudy Gay was more of a real trade option than Smith has been.
It's an interesting assessment that isn't without flaws. Not flaws in the reporting mind you, but flaws in the thinking if this indeed represents the Suns mindset.
First: Does anyone really value Rudy Gay higher than Josh Smith? Gay is a one-dimensional player who (inefficiently) scores the ball. Smith fills up the box score with assists, rebounds, steals, blocks and yes, buckets. It's not even close.
The second flaw in this potential thinking is that Josh Smith would be available this summer as a free agent. If the Suns were to trade for Smith they'd hold a sizable monetary advantage when it comes time to re-sign him this summer. If they wait, the Suns would have no edge over the other teams with cap space and certainly a disadvantage to whoever holds his Bird Rights.
If the Suns want to save their money for some other unknown player (there really aren't any star targets this summer), that's fine. It plays into the hands of those drooling over the 2014 draft with big names (Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins) but let's remember that to be in the running for those guys the Suns need to be prepared for yet another horrible season of losing.
If saving the cap space and avoiding talent that could hurt those lottery chances is the plan, so be it. We can cover a losing team for another year...just don't try and tell me Josh Smith is a lesser player than Rudy Gay.