The rumor mill has been spinning Tuesday morning, with word that Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks is reportedly done with the team and is interested in playing for the Boston Celtics, among other teams.
But would it be a good move for the Celtics to pursue Smith? The short answer is, absolutely.
Smith, a high-flying 6'9", 225-pound forward, is a superstar caliber player who has proven to be a consistent contributor all throughout his seven year career. Smith averaged a career-high 17.3 points and 8.9 rebounds with the Hawks last season. In his career, Smith has scored 7,805 points and collected 4,136 rebounds in 534 games.
I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I can already envision all of the Rajon Rondo-Josh Smith alley-oops that would take place. Isn't that enough reason to go out and get Smith?
Of course not. Still, Smith would benefit the Celtics greatly, as adding another young phenom alongside Rondo would help the Celtics bridge the gap between the Big Thee era and points beyond.
The problem is, players like Smith don't come cheap. Smith is owed $25.2 million over the next two years and $13.2 million next in 2012, according to Spotrac. The Celtics don't have that much wiggle room financially, and they would have to rid themselves of some big contracts.
The first of which would most likely be Kevin Garnett. At $21.2 million, Garnett has the fourth-highest salary in the NBA in the 2011-12 season.Looking back, Garnett was worth every penny, considering that he helped bring a banner back to Boston.
However, Garnett is way past his prime, and if you can find a suitor willing to take him, it's certainly worth looking into.
The Celtics' next biggest contract is that of Paul Pierce, who will bring home $15.33 million next season. There is absolutely zero chance that Pierce gets traded, as he has been the heart and soul of this organization for the past decade.
That brings us to Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, both of whom are scheduled to make $10 million next year. Allen still appears to have a lot of basketball left in him, and Rondo is locked in with the Celtics for the foreseeable future.
Hawks general manager Rick Sund is a big fan of Garnett and Allen, so if the deal were to go down, it's safe to assume that one or both of those players would likely be on the move.
The other issue is the fact that Celtics GM Danny Ainge doesn't appear to be ready to shut the door on the Big Three era, and has made it known that he thinks this group has a lot of productive time left together.
Despite the drawbacks, Smith to the Celtics would still be a net gain for a franchise that is gripping to its aging superstars for dear life. With Smith on board, the C's would be better positioned for the immediate future and beyond.