Feb 11, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (5) drives against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Hawks beat the Mavs 105-101. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Trade Rumors: Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani to Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith?

Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks is a name which continues to float around the trade-o-sphere (a noisy sub-domain of the blog-o-sphere). While there is little evidence emanating from the Cone of Silence

February 12, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Raptors forward-center Andrea Bargnani (7) passes the ball to guard DeMar DeRozan (10) as Denver Nuggets guard Andre Miller (24) follows during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

which is Toronto Raptors’ management that something is cooking, I see no harm in seeing if swapping problems is possible. A quick crank of the Trade Machine, and presto! Yes, we could trade Andrea Bargnani for Josh Smith. This is a deal which makes more sense for both teams than may appear at first glance. Allow me to explain.

Josh Smith’s contract, which pays him $ 13.2M, expires this season, and he’s looking for a maximum deal from whoever he chooses to sign with. Whether Smith is worth huge money or not is a matter of furious debate, which I won’t participate in here, other than to note that anyone averaging 17+ points, 4 assists and 8+ rebounds per game is certainly worthy of big-dollar consideration. Should a highly motivated Smith join the Raps for the last third of the season, and lead an unlikely charge into the playoffs, wouldn’t that help him with his off-season plans to cash in? Of course it would, and we can hope that Toronto will be first among equals when Josh considers a new home. If not, where’s the harm? We’re out from under the next two years of Andrea Bargnani’s contract, and our kids (and fans!) enjoy a trip to the playoffs. Oh, and Bryan Colangelo retrieves the much-prized salary cap flexibility he lost in the Rudy Gay deal.

The picture is murkier for the Hawks. Atlanta GM Danny Ferry will need serious convincing that Bargnani is back to full health, and still has a functioning jump shot, particularly from behind the arc. (20 second timeout: I was at last night’s Denver game. Andrea had 3 open looks from distance, and clanked them all. Yuck.) Should Danny take the leap of faith about Andrea, he would also have to believe that trading a disgruntled Smith is addition by subtraction.

There it is, Rapture Nation – a trade motivated by short term thinking and contract issues, both of which I usually dislike on principle. However, even the oak must occasionally bend its branches to the wind. Let’s do this deal.

Brian Boake is a co-editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.

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