Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, and he has made it clear that he wants to be paid like a superstar. Smith tells Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he believes himself worthy of a five-year, $94MM max contract:
“I feel like I’m a max player,” Smith said Friday. “I feel I bring a lot to the table. I have a lot of versatility. For what I do and what I give this ball club, I feel like I’m worth it.”
Smith adds that he does not believe the Hawks should be dissuaded from giving him a max contract by the fate of the last player they maxed out, Joe Johnson, whose contract became such an albatross that they dealt him to the Brooklyn Nets this past summer.
“There shouldn’t be any hesitation. I’m Josh Smith, I’m not anybody else. I ‘m not Michael Jordan, I’m not LeBron James, I’m not Brook Lopez. I’m Josh Smith. You can’t look at what might’ve happened with another person. Let’s say Joe. You can’t say, ‘I’m skeptical of giving another person that’ because of whatever they feel like happened."
In a recent article examining Smith's value, Zach Lowe of Grantland pointed out that, as a nine-year veteran, it may be smarter for Smith to sign a one-year deal with the Hawks and qualify for the higher maximum amount that 10-year veterans may receive. Lowe writes that as a 10-year veteran, Smith's next contract could pay him as much as $105MM over five seasons.