Nearly 56% of more than 1,560 Hoops Rumors readers suggested last Friday that the Hawks' decision to keep Josh Smith was the most surprising non-move of this year's trade deadline. It wasn't for lack of trying that the Hawks retained Smith though, as Steve Kyler documents in his latest NBA AM piece for HoopsWorld. Kyler echoes a report that we heard on Thursday, indicating that Atlanta was exploring potential Smith trades right up to the 2:00pm deadline before finally deciding that the return wasn't enough. Here's more from Kyler:
- Both the Hawks and Jazz, who held on to Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, decided that earning a playoff spot and deciding what to do with their free-agents-to-be at season's end made more sense than giving them up for pennies on the dollar, according to Kyler.
- Kyler compares Atlanta's and Utah's trade talks to the discussions the Grizzlies were having about Rudy Gay earlier this season. Before Memphis got below the tax line by sending Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington to Cleveland, teams were lowballing the Grizzlies in talks for Gay, making proposals that were "borderline insulting," according to Kyler. It wasn't until the Grizz regained some leverage by getting below the tax that the offers for Gay improved.
- The Hawks and Jazz are both expecting to have the opportunity to create upwards of $40MM in cap space this summer, which gives them plenty of flexibility to either bring back their own free agents or to facilitate sign-and-trade deals.
- While Beno Udrih was viewed as a throw-in in the six-player trade that sent J.J. Redick to the Bucks, Udrih tells Kyler that he's hoping his time in Orlando is more than just a pit stop. Udrih has some history with Magic coach Jacque Vaughn, who played with him in San Antonio, and GM Rob Hennigan, who was in the Spurs' front office when the club drafted Udrih.
- Kyler opines that, for as much talk as there's been about the new CBA's luxury tax penalties discouraging trading, it isn't fair to blame the tax for this year's relatively quiet deadline. I'm inclined to agree — the impact of the repeater tax in particular has been overstated, in my opinion, since not many teams are in position to be taxpayers for four years out of five. Additionally, as Kyler points out, with so many teams poised to have cap space this summer, clubs were reluctant to trade for free-agents-to-be, knowing that those players will have plenty of options and offers in July.