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Berger: Trade Rumor Linking Josh Smith, Orlando Magic "Totally Legit"

When Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported Josh Smith expects the Atlanta Hawks to trade him, and that the Orlando Magic are on the shortlist of teams to which he'd like to be traded, it piqued Magic fans' interest. And while a lot of the rumors discussed during the lead-up to Thursday's NBA Draft turn out to be bogus, it looks as though the Magic and Hawks are indeed discussing a trade built around Smith. From Ken Berger of CBS Sports:

A source also said discussions between Atlanta and Orlando with Josh Smith going to the Magic are "totally legit." Executives say the Hawks have expressed an eagerness to move Smith and would like to shed salary in the process.

For Orlando, Smith's appeal is obvious. Smith is a young, productive, versatile player who ought to have at least one All-Star appearance on his resume by now, but doesn't. He's coming off a season in which he averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.9 combined steals and blocks. He's a player who can help any team, and as his Hawks showed the Magic in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Orlando needs the help.

Further, Smith and Magic center Dwight Howard grew up together in Atlanta and played on the same AAU team, a fact of which we're reminded at least once during Magic/Hawks telecasts. Adding Smith to Orlando's roster could, in addition to helping the team on the court, give Howard a reason to consider staying when he can become a free agent next summer.

Having established all that, it's difficult to imagine the Hawks dealing Smith to Orlando, however "legit" the trade talks are. The teams are division rivals, for one, so it doesn't behoove Atlanta to help an adversary. The simpler reason, though, is Orlando doesn't have much to offer. Berger's report says the Hawks want expiring contracts, which the Magic don't have. Perhaps Orlando could try easing Atlanta's cap situation by agreeing to take on Marvin Williams' contract (worth roughly $25 million over the next three seasons). Overall, I don't see the trade calculus working in the Magic's favor here.