Hawks keep Josh Smith, trade Morrow to Mavs
ATLANTA (AP) — Hawks general manager Danny Ferry gave a simple explanation why he turned down the chance to trade Josh Smith on Thursday.
"We value Josh," Ferry said.
It wasn't the only time Ferry used those words. Smith, 6-foot-9 forward who leads the team in scoring, is an important defender with his steals and blocks, contributes big in assists and rebounds but will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Ferry confirmed the Hawks entertained offers for Smith leading up to Thursday's trade deadline. Ferry ultimately preferred to keep Smith even while accepting the risk he could lose the 27-year-old forward in free agency with no return for the team.
"We weighed the positives and negatives of each of our opportunities and at the end of the day we felt like the best decision was to stand pat based off some of the things we were looking at," Ferry said.
The Hawks made two other moves. The team traded guard Anthony Morrow to the Dallas Mavericks for guard-forward Dahntay Jones. Atlanta also acquired backup center Jeremy Tyler from Golden State as the Warriors moved to escape the luxury tax.
Smith participated in the Hawks' practice Thursday morning. He said he wasn't the only player who was thinking about the trade deadline.
"I'm pretty sure it was going through everybody's heads, not just myself," Smith said. "There are a lot of guys who feel like they might get traded, too. It's not just me. It's a tough process."
After hearing his name in trade rumors for weeks, Smith said he had difficulty sleeping following Wednesday night's loss to the Miami Heat.
Ultimately, Smith said he was comfortable remaining with the Hawks or being traded.
"It's not all that bad," Smith said. "I'm playing my dream job. I'm just blessed with the opportunity to be able to be a part of a special time. A lot of guys came through this league and played for the Hawks and other teams that I grew up idolizing, so it's definitely a blessing just to be here."
Smith leads Atlanta with his averages of 17.1 points and 2.1 blocks per game. He is second on the team with 8.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
Smith set career highs with his averages of 18.8 points and 9.6 rebounds last season. He has said he may ask for a maximum contract as a free agent. The Hawks could offer five years and about $94 million, while other teams could offer up to about $70 million for four years.