The NBA’s trade deadline is Thursday afternoon. One name that continues to pop up in numerous rumors is Atlanta forward Josh Smith. At one time, the Hawks were one of the four best teams in the Eastern Conference with a core of Joe Johnson, Al Horford and Josh Smith. Those days are long gone and right now Atlanta sits in the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference, stuck in mediocrity. That’s the worst place to be in the NBA. While Smith is having yet another good season for the Hawks and his athleticism and versatility probably can’t be replaced, he will be a free agent at the end of this season and the Hawks would be wise to try to get some kind of value for their second best player.
Al Horford joined WCNN in Atlanta with Chuck and Chernoff to talk about how the team and Josh Smith are dealing with all the trade rumors, if he thinks guys who play in the All-Star game are at a disadvantage because they lose rest, what he thinks of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest and how he feels about the job Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan is doing.
On how the team and Josh Smith are handling the trade rumors:
“Josh is doing a good job of of handling all the trade rumors and everything. I think we’re pretty focused on what we have at hand. We know we have our hands full with Miami. Today was a good practice, we got our strategies down for the game and we’re looking forward (to the game against Miami).
If guys that played in the All-Star game are at a disadvantage:
“I don’t think so. On the contrary I think it probably helps because that guarantees that you’re not sitting on the couch for four or five days, not doing anything. At least you practice one day and then you’re playing the other day. It’s all about being in rhythm and in basketball you can’t take four or five days off. Even on the break, I got to the point where I got back into the gym, worked out, got a lift in, got shots up and stuff like that. You don’t want to lose your conditioning and all of that.”
On the Slam Dunk Contest:
“I think the guys in the past have set the bar at a high level and you’re getting to a point where you are running out of ideas of what you can possibly do and I think some of these guys hold their best dunks for later rounds. I think there should be, I don’t know, I think we should some sort of format where first of all you don’t have a minute and a half or whatever time it was to complete a dunk. The second thing is, have them show their stuff. Sometimes you don’t even get around to seeing what they have to offer so I think there are some tweaks that the NBA is going to have to think of to make the dunk contest more and more interesting.”
On the job Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan is doing this year:
“I’m very proud and impressed by what they’re doing down there. I think Coach Donovan, he always has the same approach, he has a group of guys that are really buying into his system and what he wants them to do. By far they don’t have the most talent, they have a nice group that plays together and defends. The SEC is a little down this year in basketball but they’re doing a great job. i think coach has them peaking at the right time. Hopefully they can keep it going and I expect big things out of this team.”