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Hawks Face Dilemma With Mercurial Smith

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

J osh Smith told Grantland just a few short weeks ago that he was as happy as he had ever been in the NBA. The Hawks were winning more than even optimists expected behind a surprisingly stingy defense, a dynamic front line led by Smith and Al Horford, some creative coaching, and chemistry Smith and others described as the very best they'd experienced. Most of the players, including Smith, are on expiring contracts, but the "get mine" selfishness that can infect that kind of situation hadn't surfaced.

The Hawks have since gone into a tailspin, with nine losses in their last 12 games. The offense has cratered, unable to produce enough free ...

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