ATLANTA — The Hawks could soon face a big decision with leading scorer Josh Smith, one of the most-discussed names in speculation leading up to the NBA trade deadline.
Smith, in his ninth season with his hometown Hawks, can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. That makes him a natural trade-deadline target, especially given general manager Danny Ferry's established willingness to part with big contracts.
Ferry, who traded Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams before the season, said Wednesday he's open to any opportunity that makes long-term sense for the team.
"We're in a unique situation right now with our current roster being competitive but also having potential cap space going forward," Ferry said. "Like most teams we're constantly evaluating ourselves and looking at the opportunities that may be out there to improve, whether that's through internal growth or externally through trades.
"If there's an opportunity that makes sense for the long-term interest of the Hawks, we'll certainly look into it. We'll definitely look into it."
Ferry wouldn't comment specifically on any talks with teams, including reports the Nets, Spurs and other teams have inquired about Smith.
The trade deadline is Feb. 21.
Smith, who had 30 points and 10 rebounds in the Hawks' 108-76 win at Orlando on Wednesday night, said he hasn't let the trade rumors interfere with his play.
"I've been playing well, so I guess my game speaks for that question," Smith said. "I'm not worried about any outside distractions, media, hearsay. I just try to come out and play my game and not worry about anything else."
He said this isn't the first season he's heard trade rumors.
"This is like the third or fourth year, so I'm kind of immune to it," he said.