Originally written February 17, 2013 on Project Spurs:
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It appears San Antonio could be the potential landing spot for Josh Smith, according to Sam Amico via Fox Sports Ohio. San Antonio could emerge as a potential landing spot for Smith, according to an Eastern Conference GM. With Smith’s expiring contract, it is believed the Spurs wouldn’t have to surrender much in return — and that coach Gregg Popovich and stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili would be able to keep the sometimes-difficult Smith in line. This may raise the hopes of San Antonio Spurs fans on a trade this season that may push them over the top of the league. As Amico reports, the Spurs may not be giving up too much in return for Smith besides a big salary such as Stephen Jackson. With the Eastern Conference general manager mentioning that the Spurs' Big 3 and Coach Pop may keep Smith in check, it would only leave Jackson's expiring $10 million deal that makes it possible. The Spurs may also be forced to throw in Tiago Splitter in the deal. He's on the end of his rookie deal which is seeing him earn $3.9 million this year, but the prospect of keeping Splitter long term and for cheaper than Smith may be what the Hawks demand in return. Splitter has been having a great season compared to his earlier ones in San Antonio, but he's seen as strictly as a system player while Smith is a very good overall player individually. If the Spurs can trade for Smith and keep him after this season, it'll be a win for San Antonio as he can build chemistry with Tony Parker for the long term. Smith's talents would be well received on the court as he'd make the Spurs an athletic force, but can also create his own shot. The worry some fans and maybe the Spurs' front office may have with Splitter is that he may demand too much in return for being strictly a system player. With a rookie contract, a team with cap space may offer him up more than the Spurs may want to invest in a strictly pick and roll player. He can't create his own shot nor command the attention of the defense on his own. Smith may be asked to be overpaid, but the rewards of a more versatile attack from the Spurs may tempt San Antonio to take the chance. If the deal goes down, it may also be more on trying to win a title this season to give Tim Duncan a proper send off as David Robinson got in 2003 over a long term plan for the team. With a more athletic defensive minded San Antonio Spurs team, that would certainly push them over the top against any other team. The Spurs would also keep their depth as most of their shooting guards can play multiple positions as can Smith who's a versatile forward who can play small or power forward.
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