NBA Trade Deadline: Hawks pull out of Josh Smith deal with Milwaukee in final minute

USA TODAY Sports

The Bucks were in trade discussions with the Hawks right up until the deadline in an effort to acquire Josh Smith, but Atlanta pulled out of a proposed deal at the last second.

The Milwaukee Bucks did indeed make a move before the NBA trade deadline, acquiring JJ Redick from the Orlando Magic in a six-player deal. But a report from ESPN's Ric Bucher suggests the day could've brought even more drastic changes to the Bucks' roster. Bucher said in a tweet that the Atlanta Hawks pulled out of a deal in the final minute that would've sent Smith to the Bucks in exchange for Luc Mbah a Moute, Ekpe Udoh, Beno Udrih, and a protected 1st-round pick. It's likely the Hawks would've sent more back than Smith, but no specifics were given. ESPN's Chad Ford says the talks were part of a larger deal involving the Magic:

Tough to say how those reports line up logistically, but it's clear that the Bucks remained determined to acquire Smith right up until the moment Atlanta decided to keep him. The prevailing thought around the league seemed to be that this rumored deal was the best offer Atlanta received for their free-agent-to-be, and the Hawks had recently reiterated their intention to hang onto him if nothing piqued their interest.

A few main takeaways:

  • It remains unclear if Monta Ellis' absence from any proposed deal is due to Milwaukee's reluctance to trade him or Atlanta's lack of interest. If it's the former, there's sure to be some second-guessing of John Hammond, especially if the Bucks had still been able to acquire Redick as a replacement. But until such a claim is verified, it's hardly fair to criticize Hammond for his failure to move an expensive player who wasn't highly valued around the league.
  • The 1st-round pick in question would likely have been well-protected, but it's interesting to consider whether the deal might have happened had it been totally unprotected.
  • As stated earlier, it's hard to know exactly what the Bucks' plans were relative to pursuing both Smith and Redick at the same time, but it would appear they were prepared to move forward with the trio of Smith, Ellis, and Brandon Jennings. There was widespread speculation that Milwaukee would look to retain such a trio of players, and frankly, it had me terrified. So in a sense, I'm relieved things fell through.
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