Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 3/9/12

You may not have noticed, but the Atlanta Hawks are having a pretty good season despite a season ending injury to All-Star big man Al Horford.  Part of that is due to the great play of Josh Smith.  Despite that stellar play, Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Smith wants out of Atlanta.

By the end of last season Smith wanted out of Atlanta because he believed he was singled out for unfair criticism by coaches and media. Those concerns have died down for the most part this season but now Smith believes he needs a fresh start with a franchise where he can better reach his potential on and off the court, according to one of the people with knowledge of Smith’s thinking.

Another item Cunningham mentioned was that Smith's contract is up after next season.  Smith has probably heard what a lot of us have heard, which is this Atlanta team is too small to compete with other teams in the league.  I think that's less of a problem now then it was a couple of years ago when there was a concern that the Orlando Magic were a rising power in the East, but the Hawks proved last season they take care of the Magic in the playoffs.  But that doesn't mean a change isn't needed and I thought Smith was the most likely to get moved of the Horford, Johnson, Smith triumvirate before he made this most recent contract request.

As we previously mentioned, Smith's contract will be an expiring contract in three months.  One year at $12.5 million is a very movable contract for a guy of Smith's talent.  Al Horford could probably be had but he's in the first year of a contract extension that pays him around $12 million a year and we all know about Joe Johnson's gigantic contract.  Question is what do the Hawks want in return.  They're currently just about $13 million over the salary cap and just barely in to the luxury tax.  Would they be looking to move Smith for a young guy or a draft pick or would they want to go for broke in the next couple of years?  Would Josh Smith & Marvin Williams for Pau Gasol & Matt Barnes interest either team? 

I don't blame Smith for wanting some clarity on his status with the team, but it doesn't really do anything to help his reputation around the league as a bit of a malcontent.  Still, we're talking about one of the most athletic power forwards in the league who deserved to make the All-Star team this year, so I imagine a lot of conversations about Smith will take place in the next week and again in June before the draft is Smith isn't moved by next Thursday.

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This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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