Hawks rumors: Atlanta ‘highly unlikely’ to re-sign Josh Smith

There were all kinds of rumors surrounding Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith as the trade deadline approached, but the club ultimately elected to retain him. While Smith is remaining in Atlanta for the time being, it’s “highly unlikely” that he re-signs with the Hawks this summer, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports.


On Thursday, Smith said Atlanta will be on his list of teams he considers when he becomes a free agent. However, all politics is local. The Atlanta native does not want to irritate the home fans, but a person familiar with Smith's plans told USA TODAY Sports that it is "highly unlikely" that Smith re-signs with Atlanta.

The Hawks were content holding onto Smith this deadline rather than trading him for players and picks. It may seem counterproductive to allow a player such as Smith walk without receiving anything in return when there was a clear market for his services. However, Atlanta is comfortable losing Smith to free agency and simply falling $40 million under the salary cap as a result.

With these additional funds, Atlanta will be able to make a run at center Dwight Howard and other free agents this summer. If that plan doesn’t work, the Hawks can sit back and hold onto their cap space until the highly-coveted class of 2014 free agents is available.

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