The Washington Wizards appear to be out of the hunt for Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, per Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick of USA Today. The Wizards could get back into the talks, but they might need to free up one of their prized assets to make a deal happen.
Whatever interest the Wizards had in Smith has disappeared, and Washington is not willing to give up any of the players Atlanta seeks for Smith, a person familiar with talks between the two teams told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak public about trade talks.
The key assets for the Wizards remain: Nene, John Wall and Bradley Beal. It would not make a lot of sense for the Hawks to want Nene in a deal -- he has three years left on his contract after this season at $13 million per year. Wall is under contract through the 2013-14 season, will be paid $7.4 million during that season and has a qualifying offer of $9.6 million to retain his rights. Beal, a rookie, is on a very affordable contract, but is not likely to be traded away.
The risk in trading for Smith is having to re-sign him. If the Wizards could get him without having to give up a key asset, they would have a much better case in contract talks. With Smith seeking a max deal and the Wizards with nearly a $59 million team salary for the 2013-14 season -- with 10 players under contract -- a deal could be worked out.
Where Smith will end up is still a mystery, but the Wizards might be more of a longshot now than they were just yesterday.
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