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Josh Smith, Omer Asik trades could be next for Rockets

Josh SmithDwight Howard reportedly has chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets as a free agent, but you have to figure the team has more in the works. As good as James Harden is, and as nice of a young player as Chandler Parsons is, the Rockets still need another top-level player to compete with Oklahoma City and San Antonio, among other Western Conference teams. Even Howard reportedly asked the Rockets about their plans to add a third star player when he met with them. That third player may be Josh Smith.

Zach Klein of WSB in Atlanta says the Rockets will try to talk with the Atlanta Hawks about a potential sign-and-trade deal for Smith. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst adds the Hawks would be open to a sign-and-trade deal for Smith.

Windhorst also reports that Omer Asik, who signed a three-year, $25.1 million deal with Houston last season, does not want to back up Howard at center. Instead, he would prefer a trade.

Several reporters have suggested the Rockets could deal Asik to the Hawks for Smith in a sign-and-trade, but Atlanta and Asik would have to be interested in such a deal for that to happen.

As Eye on Basketball previously noted, Howard and Smith are friends from their AAU days in Atlanta.

We don’t know what moves Houston will make, but we can be certain that adding Howard is not all they plan to do.

Josh Smith upset with his All-Star snub

Josh Smith is having another strong all-around season for the Hawks, so he was understandably disappointed that he didn’t make the All-Star team. He thinks he didn’t get in because of political reasons.

“You’ve got to factor in there is a lot of politics involved in the All-Star selection,” Smith said Friday. “Once you get that it’s really about politics, then nothing really surprises you. I call it ‘Nothing But Associates,’ NBA. It’s all who you know.”

J-Smoove wasn’t voted in as a starter by the fans, but the coaches could have selected him as a reserve. He thinks campaigning for a spot could have gone a long way.

“I can’t really point a finger and blame anybody because, at the end of the day, when you leave it up to certain people that still have ties to their agents, [and] players in this game today probably [are] just putting in a bid over the phone, or however they do it,” he said. “You have to factor that in.”

The 26-year-old forward is in his eighth season in the NBA and has yet to make an All-Star team. A big reason why he was left off is because there is so much competition at the forward position in the Eastern Conference. The guys who made it ahead of him all deserved a spot. Paul Pierce, Andre Iguodala, and Luol Deng are all very good players on winning teams. Maybe Smith deserved a spot over Deng or Iguodala, but not Pierce. But he’s not the only guy who was left out — Ryan Anderson, Carlos Boozer, and Danny Granger all can make great cases too.

The best way to set yourself up for a bid in the future is by complaining in the present. This might help Smoove for next year.

Orlando Columnist Mike Bianchi Motivated Birdbrain Atlanta Hawks, Josh Smith

The Atlanta Hawks polished off the Orlando Magic 4-2 in their first-round series of the NBA Playoffs. The Hawks were leading the series 3-1 but lost Game 5 to Orlando, prompting the series to go to a sixth game. It was then that Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi crushed the Hawks in his column and declared the Magic would win.

Some of the highlights from the column:

The Magic are going to win this series and the Birdbrains are going to fold up and collapse like a $5 lawn chair. You know it, I know it and deep down in the lonely recesses of their fragile minds, the Birdbrains know it, too.

No matter how much talent they have, the Hawks are still the Hawks. They are still Team Dummy. They will always do stupid things and take stupid shots. They will always lose their focus and their composure

Apparently some of those quotes were distributed to the Hawks players prior to Game 6, and afterwards forward Josh Smith admitted Bianchi’s criticism served as a motivating factor for Atlanta:

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