In legal quarters they call it "irreconcilable differences," the basis for granting dissolution in no-fault divorce states.

Neither Josh Smith nor anyone in the Atlanta Hawks' front office is willing to publicly admit that their relationship has moved into the realm of "irretrievable," but some of us recognize the obvious. It's time for a clean break for both sides.

Smith was tossed out of practice Tuesday, fined and then suspended for Wednesday's home game against the Brooklyn Nets for conduct detrimental to the team. Smith was suspended by the team earlier in his career for a similar transgression, when he lit into then-Hawks coach and current Knicks coach Mike Woodson, so his critics will surely point to the fact that he has a history of acting out this way.

Sure, he made a statement apologizing and articulating all of the right things:

"Clearly I am competitive and was frustrated by our recent losses," Smith said in a statement released by the team. "I understand and respect the team's actions and just want to get back on the court to do whatever is necessary to help my teammates. I apologize for letting them down and apologize to our fans for not being available for tonight's game."

But it still doesn't resolve the lingering issue that has been there from the day this hastily arranged marriage between the enigmatic hometown kid and the beleaguered franchise was consummated on Draft night 2004.

Smith wasn't supposed to last until the 17th pick that year. But his stock plummeted on the eve of the Draft based on whispers at workouts that he didn't show up with the best attitude and energy in some places. We all remember what happened on Draft night, when ESPN analyst Jay Bilas smashed him before he could pull that Hawks hat down tight over his head.