When I read earlier this morning that the Griz were offering Josh Smith $58M for 5 years I didn't think there was anyway he'd sign, simply because it's such an easy decision for the Hawks to match. I truly believed (a) he didn't want to stay in Atlanta and (b) that he was worth more than Deng, etc. This deal works out to average $11.6M over the length of the contract. This afternoon, I was shocked to see reports that he's signed the offer sheet
. Here's where it will place him among the restricted FAs who have signed already:
- Okafor - $12M/year
- Deng - $11.83M/year
- Smith - $11.6M/year
- Ellis - $11.17M/year
- Biedrins - $10.33M/year
Doesn't this news make the rumored $14.52M/year deal for Iguodala seem like complete fiction?
This is an excellent test of Atlanta's ownership and front office, all they have to do is match this fair offer for Smith in the next 7 days. Only one decision to make, and it should be an easy one. If they fail to match they've basically flushed all the good will they built among their fans last season down the toilet. They have to match.
Now, if the Hawks do match, I wonder if the Griz would set their sites on Iguodala. Up to this point, it was widely believed Memphis would put its cap space in its pocket and do nothing with it. If they're willing to spend, there's really only one target left out there after Smith, and that's our own Andre Iguodala.
My hope is that this contract will bring some clarity to the negotiations between Andre and the Sixers. Take a look at the numbers above, the Sixers can make Andre the highest-paid restricted free agent with a 5-year deal for $61M, or a 6-year deal for $73M. Sit down at the table with Andre, have these numbers in front of you and say, "Listen, we think you're the better than all of these guys and we're going to top what they got. Let's get this thing done." Either way, $61M/5 or $75/6, just get it done.
As an aside, had the Sixers waited in the background and eventually gotten Smith to sign this offer sheet with them, the first-year value would've probably been $10M ($10M, $10.8M, $11.6M, $12.4M, $13.2M). Which would've left the Sixers with extra cap space to possibly make another move. Of course, the Hawks still could've, should've and probably would've matched, but for argument's sake, let's suspend disbelief. Would anyone rather the Sixers signed Smith to that contract, with possibly $4M in leftover cap space to play with, than spending every last cent on Brand?