For most of the season, it seemed like the Hawks and Josh Smith were satisfied with their partnership, with the team not looking to trade the eighth-year veteran and Smith strongly considering re-signing next summer with the only NBA club he's ever played for. When the Hawks issued their athletic forward a one-game suspension this week for "conduct detrimental to the team," it seemed to signal a change, as Smith's agent expressed his client's frustrations in Atlanta and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported the team had engaged in trade talks about Smith. Now, Steve Kyler hears that the Hawks are turning away those calls, and are instead looking to build around Smith (Twitter links).
Kyler also tweets that they've held that stance "this week," which could indicate their rumored participation in trade talks was limited to fielding offers and issuing rejections. Kyler notes that the Hawks may decide to entertain a trade for Smith closer to the deadline, but appear more focused on bringing in someone to help distinguish themselves in the tightly bunched upper half of the Eastern Conference (Twitter link). The HoopsWorld scribe isn't sure that the Hawks can accomplish that, and I think it might come down to whether GM Danny Ferry is willing to bite into the ample cap room the team is set to have in the summer. With only about $18.5MM in guaranteed salary on the books for next year, Atlanta could probably take on another moderately-priced multi-year contract without significantly compromising their flexibility.
The Rockets would have interest in Smith if he's available, Kyler tweets, and Berger identified them as one of the teams that would appeal to the 6'9" soon-to-be free agent. It might be difficult for them to get a deal done with Atlanta, though, since they don't have many of the expiring contracts the Hawks would probably want. The Rockets already owe a protected first-round pick to the Hawks that Atlanta acquired via the Nets in the Joe Johnson trade.