Josh Smith is in the last year of his contract with the Hawks, and for financial reasons, he won't be signing a long-term extension at any point during the season. However, even though he'll become an unrestricted free agent next summer, Smith is strongly considering remaining in Atlanta, as he tells Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida.
"I never said one time that I wanted to leave Atlanta," Smith said. "It was always rumors and things. The moves that they made (last summer) and the success that we’re having, I am excited about what is going with this organization and I am considering strongly staying here. I haven’t ever had any thoughts that I wanted to leave."
Reports at and before last year's trade deadline indicated that Smith would have welcomed a trade, though the veteran forward never said as much himself. More recently, following the hiring of GM Danny Ferry and the flurry of moves the Hawks made this offseason, reports have suggested that Smith would be open to a long-term future in Atlanta.
"We already have an understanding on what’s going on, especially between me and the GM," Smith said of his interactions with Ferry. "I’m not going to tell you (what it specifically entails). It’s an understanding that we have."
If Smith were to sign a contract extension now, he could only add three new years to his current deal, and wouldn't be eligible for the maximum salary. While it's not clear exactly how high the Hawks are willing to go to keep Smith around, the team could offer him as much as five years at the maximum salary in free agency next July.