Hawks forward Josh Smith was front and center at Monday's media day, seated at the main table and surrounded by a throng of reporters. The trade of Joe Johnson has left Smith as the focal point of the franchise along with Al Horford and Jeff Teague. After nine seasons in a Hawks uniform it seems that Smith is ready for that responsibility.
Smith shook off trade rumors over the summer while going through his offseason workout regiment in California. He says he worked with a strength and conditioning coach during the offseason for the first time in his career and hopes to maintain his strength throughout the season. Smith is set to become a free agent at the end of the season but says his mindset is on making the playoffs and not on contract issues.
"My mindset is making it to the playoffs," Smith said. "I'm not worrying about any contract discussions. I think the team and I are on the same page. We know what we are going to do. My main concern is making the playoffs and winning basketball games."
Smith also discussed the change the Hawks made in the front office with Danny Ferry taking over for Rick Sund. Smith says that he wasn't totally surprised that Ferry decided to shake up the roster somewhat. He also praised Ferry for his decision making and is showing faith that Ferry will continue to make the best decisions as to what is best for the Hawks going forward. That has to be a good thing for the Hawks and their hopes at convincing Smith to re-sign after the season.
"I'm all for change," Smith said. "I think with the unit we had for the last five years, we just felt ourselves stuck in one place. We couldn't get out of it, like we were stuck in cement. If you are a new GM coming in and you see the history of what has been happening the last five years, you do applaud us but at the same time you have to wonder how long can this last? [Ferry] came in with the mindset of trying to do things the right way. ... I have total faith in him that he is doing the right thing for this organization."