Nets out of the Josh Smith race

Josh Smith, Amir Johnson

According to recent reports, the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns have emerged as frontrunners in the race to acquire Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks, with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports calling the Boston Celtics a “darkhorse.” The Brooklyn Nets have not been mentioned, making it appear that they’re either out of the race.

The Nets will likely not make any deal at all if they’re unable to swing a major trade for Smith, which appears more and more likely as the 3 P.M. trade deadline inches closer.

The Brooklyn Nets’ offer of Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and a first-round draft pick or Bojan Bogdanovic does not appear to have the enticing flavor that Hawks GM Danny Ferry is looking for in rebuilding his team without Smith. If anything, it appears the Hawks used the Nets deal as leverage to get other teams to up their offers for the forward. (The leverage with a deal like that can only go so far.)

Humphries’ contract – $12 million per year — is the Nets’ biggest trade asset at this point, but its value is severely tempered, as it expires next year rather than this year.