According to league sources, the team is currently assessing Smith's trade value. The former first-round draft pick would not mind leaving, Yahoo! Sports reports, naming Boston, New Jersey, Houston and Orlando as his most desired destinations.
Smith, who entered the NBA straight from high school in 2004, averaged 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game this season, ranking second on the team in both categories (to Joe Johnson and Al Horford, respectively).
Smith, Johnson and a strong core of young talent have revitalized the Hawks franchise in recent years. The team has made four consecutive playoff appearances after its dreadful performance for much of the early 2000s. That stretch included failing to make the playoffs eight years in a row, an NBA record.
Atlanta has not advanced past the conference semifinals in any of its playoff appearances, however, and has been stuck at a notch below the Celtics, Magic and whichever team LeBron James plays for (formerly the Cavaliers, now the Miami Heat).
The current Hawks roster may have reached its competitive ceiling, and unloading Smith — and the two years and $25.6 million left on his contract — may be an attractive option for the Atlanta front office.
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