Joe Smith Set to Return, But For How Long?
Injured forward Joe Smith will return to action tonight against Denver, but according to a report in the Sacramento Bee the veteran journeyman could soon be headed to the Kings.
The Sacramento Bee is reporting the Thunder has offered Smith’s expiring contract for swingman John Salmons.
Salmons, 29, is in his seventh year out of Miami (Fla.) and is averaging career-highs of 18.7 points and 3.5 assists this year along with 4.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 49 games.
The 6-foot-6, 207-pound Salmons has two years remaining on his contract after this season totaling roughly $11.2 million, making him potentially yet another low-risk, high-reward acquisition by general manager Sam Presti.
Last summer Presti traded a second-round pick to Charlotte for Kyle Weaver, a 2008 second-round pick who is now starting at shooting guard in place of the injured Desmond Mason. In December Presti shored up the team’s frontcourt by signing Nenad Krstic to a three-year deal worth about $16 million. And last month he traded reserve center Johan Petro for veteran point guard Chucky Atkins, who has one year left on his contract following this season but is guaranteed only $760,000 of his $3.48 million for 2009-10.
Salmons is capable of playing either the shooting guard or small forward position and is shooting 41.9 percent from the 3-point line and 47.9 percent from the field this season, both career-highs. While he’s enjoying a career year shooting the ball, he’s known more for his slashing ability. Salmons is also a gritty defender who can guard multiple positions and add to the defensive identity the Thunder seeks to establish.
The Bee, citing league sources, reports the Kings have yet to find a deal they like, which indicates Smith alone won’t be enough to lure Salmons and the Thunder likely would need to sweeten the deal with a draft pick.
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