Also as expected, the most perceptive comments about this development come not from Billy Knight (unquoted) or Mike Woodson...
"Both those guys, along with Marvin [Williams] and all the guys we've brought in here, have done everything in their power to help us reach our ultimate goal."(The ultimate goal being what, 30 wins? Having the NBA's best pre-season record?)
...but rather from Josh Childress, on-court epitome of efficiency and good decision-making, who perhaps should be making basketball decisions for the entire franchise:
"It is stunning from the standpoint that I thought there would be more stability but we feel like this is the year we've finally put it all together. The bottom line is this, in the past three years we've had basically three guys [Tyronn Lue was acquired in a trade Dec. 23, 2004] in this thing the entire way. And that's just crazy, when you consider that other teams have a nucleus of sometimes seven or eight guys. That's where we feel like we are now."What would motivate either Smith or Childress or to sign an extension next summer? The benefit of signing to play for a mis-managed franchise for a maximum of six rather than five years? Either Smith or Childress would be an attractive addition to most, if not all, NBA teams and most, if not all, NBA teams would be more attractive than the Hawks organization which, in the short time Smith and Childress have been around, has failed with consecutive high draft picks to build a productive young nucleus and failed to secure (may have failed to attempt to secure) long-term contracts for two productive players plenty young enough to be a part of the next good Hawks team.
Anyone with an interest in the Hawks who also watched the Cavaliers look throughly inept and discombobulated last night has to be concerned. Not that the Cavs aren't capable of looking bad even when at full-strength, but last night was an example of how bad a more talented team can look when it knows it is not whole. That's just with role players missing. No team should be in the business of alienating their second- and third-best players.
A better organization could be given the benefit of the doubt (the Bulls, for example) with regard to not extending key players especially one as immature as Josh Smith. Next summer's a long time from now. Everything may work out anyway. With the Hawks, though, wouldn't everything working out in the end be a surprise?