Josh Smith has agreed to sign a four year contract with the Detroit Pistons at an amount of $56 million. It is being reported that the former Hawks' forward had considered returning to Atlanta, but chose to leave after nine seasons. Smith was drafted straight out of high school by the Hawks with the 17th pick in the 2004 Draft. While he was a Hawk he brought the highlight to "The Highlight Factory" and outside all of the flash, Josh was the 24th player in the history of the NBA to reach the milestone of 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and 1,000 blocked shots. He helped lead the Hawks to six straight playoff appearances, but at times he felt he was not appreciated in Atlanta.
Smith was known around town for taking bad three pointers and seemed to be blamed for many of the Hawks' shortcomings. There were often trade rumors and some were even brought forth by Smith himself. There were times when he spoke of how he loved the fans of the Boston Celtics, which led many to believe that he wanted to play with his old team mate Rajon Rondo. There were many who thought that Josh Smith believed that he was a max contract player, but his play in times like this past season's playoffs cost him some major money. It was never really clear if Atlanta Hawks' GM Danny Ferry ever had plans of bringing Smith back to the team and it is just as questionable if Smith ever really wanted to continue playing for the Hawks.
Only hours after reports of Smith's departure, rumors began to spread about Zaza Pachulia bolting to the Milwaukee Bucks. According to Chris Broussard of ESPN, the two parties have agreed to a deal for three years worth $15 million. Pachulia was seen by many Atlanta fans as the heart of the team. Danny Ferry may have viewed Zaza as expendable after his season was cut short by an Achilles injury. This past season Zaza Pachulia averaged 5.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, but came up big in some very critical games for the Hawks. Zaza played in Milwaukee for the 2004-05 season before coming to Atlanta. As he returns to Milwaukee he will join the Atlanta Hawks' former coach, Larry Drew.
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