The Nuggets put together their best January ever and came one game short of tying their most wins in a single month with 12. With everyone healthy, Nuggets are legitimate contenders in the Western Conference right?
Yes they have been playing outstanding ball, but they are still missing that one piece. As the trade deadline heats up, so do the rumors. The latest name that has been tied with the Nuggets is Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks.
Smith is a hot name that has dealt with trade rumors for the past two seasons in Atlanta. It looks like more than ever however that a trade could realistically happen this season. The Hawks look to be in a rebuilding mode and Smith thinks that he is a max-contract type of player. The Hawks just went through the same thing with Joe Johnson and weren’t able to get through half of the deal before shipping him off to Brooklyn. The terms rebuilding and max-contract don’t go together.
I like Smith. I’ve been a fan of him since he came out of high school. But is the move one that the Nuggets would really benefit from?
Yes, the athleticism that Smith brings to a team is unrivaled. Putting him along side the athletic talent the Nuggets have already would make them a scary team on the fast break. But where would he fit?
In order to get Smith, the Nuggets would more than likely have to part with Timofey Mozgov (no big deal), but also move Danilo Gallinari. Gallo is still just 24 and we’ve seen this year the flashes of talent that he has.
Smith is still only 27, which is hard to believe. Smith is an extraordinary talent, but is he worth losing Gallo over with his expiring contract? The Nuggets already have Corey Brewer and Andre Iguodala as free agents at the end of the season. Do they really need to go after the max-contract of Smith?
Smith would be a defensive upgrade over Gallo, but not much else. Gallo gives the Nuggets the three-point threat that they definitely need. If a trade is to be made, it needs to be for a big man or a shooter. Not a guy with an expiring contract who is unlikely to re-sign at the end of the year.
As big of a fan as I am of J-Smooth, the Nuggets need to pass.