Suns Top Contender For Josh Smith?

February 20 2013 at 8:10pm CDT By Chuck Myron

8:10pm: Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports hears the Suns aren't expected to participate in any major deals (Twitter link), so it appears they may not bite on Smith after all.

7:55pm: Having already participated in a smaller deal this evening, acquiring Marcus Morris from the Rockets, the Suns are discussing a proposal for Josh Smith that would send Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and a first-round pick to the Hawks, tweets Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. Woelfel adds that Phoenix is the primary contender for Smith, thought to be the biggest name with a reasonable chance of heading elsewhere.

Such a trade would eat into the Hawks' cap space that they've prioritized for next summer, since Gortat and Dudley are signed to long-term deals. Still, the move would leave them enough room to add a max player through free agency. They've been looking for a "quality young center" in return for Smith but perhaps would settle for Gortat, who just turned 29 and is on a reasonable deal that pays him $7.26MM this season and $7.73 next year. Dudley would also be an economical pickup, as he's set to make $4.25MM through 2016. The swingman has been a part of several rumors lately, prompting him to express his desire to stay in Phoenix. He can't veto a trade, however, so the Suns can move him out if they find a deal they like.

The Suns, wary of their ability to re-sign Smith when he hits unrestricted free agency this summer, were reportedly out on Smith as of this weekend, but perhaps they've become more willing to take the risk. If they trade for him and can't convince him to stay, they'll have cleared about $12MM in cap space for this summer, if nothing else.

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