After giving up Joe Johnson to the Nets this summer, it’s clear that the Hawks are ready to move forward with Josh Smith leading the way. At only 26 years old, Smith is now entering his prime and proved last season that he is one of the best forwards in the league. But something that Hawks fans should be slightly worried about is that it seems unlikely that Smith will get an extension before training camp starts.
It is “unlikely” that he will be re-signed before the end of the upcoming season. The forward is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Don’t panic yet Hawks fans.
Under the rules of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, it could be advantageous for Smith, and to some degree the Hawks, to wait on a new contract. In simplest terms, if Smith re-signs with the Hawks before June 30, the extension can be for only a maximum of three years. If he waits until after his contract expires, he can re-sign for up to five years.
I’ve never been a big believer in teams not locking up their best player before they become an unrestricted free agent. Who knows if Smith will have a change of heart after this season is over? Even though the Hawks are eligible to offer him the most money, it would be in the franchises best interest to extend his contract as soon as possible.
Read more at AJC.