Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. is looking forward to the challenge of playing more at the shooting guard spot with the addition of rookie Luka Doncic, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Coach Rick Carlisle said he’s not concerned about how Smith and Doncic will mesh, even though Smith mainly played the point last season. Smith wasn’t thrilled about playing the two-guard spot at times last season, according to Sefko, but the second-year guard is now a willing participant. “I made strides toward the end of the year playing off the ball. And I got better playing with it, too,” Smith told Sefko. “I believe both guys can play with it and without it.”
We have more from around the Western Conference:
- The Thunder have to decide by September 1st whether to fully guarantee Abdel Nader‘s salary for next season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Nader will receive $450K of his $1,378,242 salary if he’s not retained. If Nader sticks, the Thunder will have 15 players on guaranteed contracts along with both two-way slots filled. It would be a surprise if the Thunder let Nader go, since they traded with the Celtics for the swingman last month.
- Forward Bruno Caboclo believes he can learn a lot from the veterans on the Rockets, as he told Blake Murphy of Uproxx.com. The former Raptor signed an Exhibit 10 contract, giving him a chance to make the opening night roster with the possibility to become an affiliate player if he doesn’t. “I’m a lot more mature right now, and I think I’m gonna learn a lot on this team,” he said. “Me and my agent, we saw every option, and we thought that Houston was gonna be the best option for me. It’s more betting on my talent and if I don’t sign here, I’m not gonna be stuck in one team.”
- Nuggets center Nikola Jokic will not play for Serbia in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament next month, according to a Sportando report. Serbia will face Greece and Estonia. Jokic signed a five-year contract with Denver this summer.