Stein’s Latest: Josh Smith, Bucks, Mavs, Rockets

As rumors fly long past the NBA's trade deadline, Marc Stein of checks in with a Weekend Dime that's heavy on items about Josh Smith, as well as plenty of news about the Rockets. There's even a link between Smith and Houston, so let's dig in. 

  • The Bucks came closest to acquiring Smith at the deadline, as a source tells Stein that Atlanta's talks with the Sixers were never as serious as they were with Milwaukee
  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier today that the Hawks nearly sent Smith to the Celtics, but Stein hears Atlanta's brass shared the concerns of many NBA teams that C's basketball president Danny Ainge would get cold feet about dealing one of his stars. Paul Pierce would have been sent to the Mavs in the rumored Smith-to-Boston trade.
  • The Hawks preferred to send Smith to the Western Conference, but were rebuffed by the Mavs, who refused to add a draft pick to a package that already included Vince Carter, Chris Kaman, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones. Many of those Mavericks were also part of the proposed three-way trade with the Celtics.
  • If the Rockets don't land top target Dwight Howard this summer, they'll turn their attention to Smith and Andrew Bynum next, sources tell Stein.
  • Aaron Brooks forfeited just under $3.4MM in his buyout from the Kings, Stein hears. Brooks was set to make $3.396MM next season on a player option, so presumably the buyout simply entailed him declining that option.
  • I took a look in January at all the former Rockets the team still has on the payroll, a list that's since grown even longer, as Stein notes. Houston has waived or bought out 10 players this season, all of whom are still on the team's cap.
  • Stein catches up with Thomas Robinson, who was surprised when the Kings drafted him last year and "shocked" when they traded him to the Rockets at the deadline.
  • There's a schism in thought around the league about whether Monta Ellis is leaning toward staying with the Bucks next season or exercising his early-termination option to hit free agency this summer. 
  • Samuel Dalembert is hitting free agency no matter what, but echoing his report before the trade deadline that Milwaukee was no longer trying to move Dalembert, Stein says the Bucks have some interest in re-signing the Haitian center.
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