--F Josh Smith isn't the Hawks' only restricted free agent looking for a worthy deal. F Josh Childress is also on the market and is apparently the target of as many as eight different teams interested in adding the versatile sixth man to their mix.His Washington-based agent, Jim Tanner, said the interest in his client has grown steadily since the start of free agency July 1.
"We're extremely pleased with the broad and enthusiastic interest in Josh from a number of teams around the league," Tanner said, declining to name any of the teams or a specific number of teams. "We're in the process of setting up meetings in several places. But I don't think it's any secret that Josh wants to find the best fit, be it in Atlanta or elsewhere."
Childress finished sixth in the voting for the NBA's Sixth Man Award this season. Much like Smith, who finished sixth in the voting for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award, Childress has a unique blend of skills that are in high demand this summer.
Childress saw his playing time dip this season by seven minutes, from 36.9 to 29.9 a night, and still found a way to average 11.1 points on 57 percent shooting. He was one of just six players in the league to average at least 10.0 points and 4.0 rebounds while also shooting better than 50 percent (.571) and making 20 or more three-pointers. Shawn Marion, Lamar Odom, Mike Miller, Grant Hill and Andre Kirilenko were the others to accomplish that feat.
Tanner said Childress is looking for a fit similar to the one he's had with the Hawks, who drafted him with the sixth pick in the 2004 draft.
"Josh wants the right fit just like every player does," Tanner said. "He wants to play with other good players in a good situation and he wants to win."
--The Hawks released their mini-camp/summer league roster this week with one glaring surprise: veteran point guard Speedy Claxton. He missed the entire 2007-08 season with a knee injury and has only played in 42 games since joining the Hawks two years ago. Since then the Hawks drafted one point guard (Acie Law IV) and traded for another one (Mike Bibby) in an effort to fill the void Claxton was paid handsomely ($25 million over four years) to fill. If Claxton proves he can play in summer league, the Hawks would be in excellent shape at the position. If not, both sides will have to consider the option of Claxton taking a medical retirement.
--The Hawks continue to insist they'll match any offers to Josh Smith and Josh Childress. But unlike the Bucks in the Bogut deal, they refuse to bid against themselves for the services of their own players.
"I think what you have to do and what I've always done is you go over your thoughts with (contract) terms, years and range and go from there," Hawks general manager Rick Sund.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We want to sit down and talk to (the Hawks) first and gauge their interest and see exactly where we are. I think everybody realizes that Josh loves it here and loves his teammates and loves playing in his hometown. If everything goes well, hopefully, we won't have to talk long. But if they send us off to find another offer, then we'll have to do that as well." -- Wallace Prather, one of Josh Smith's agents, on his client's wishes to remain in Atlanta, at the right price, of course.