ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported earlier in the day that Dallas hopes to reconcile and move forward with Smith on the roster, despite shopping the 2017 lottery pick in recent weeks. Teams have yet to give the Mavericks a tempting trade package for Smith, with the 21-year-old expressing interest in moving on from the team and finding a new situation, according to MacMahon.
The fractured relationship between Smith and coach Rick Carlisle is partially to blame for this mess, with team officials characterizing the relationship as a veteran coach being demanding of a young player to ultimately help his development, MacMahon added.
Smith missed the Mavs’ game on Wednesday due to an illness, sitting out the previous three games with what the team listed as a “sore back”. The Mavericks don’t expect him to join them for their two-game road trip against the Pacers on Saturday and Bucks on Monday, MacMahon reports (Twitter link).
Dallas has other contracts that could be used in trades — particularly Wesley Matthews, Salah Mejri and the injured J.J. Barea — but is clearly motivated to keep Smith on the roster and see how the pairing of him and young star Luka Doncic pans out in the longterm.
The NBA’s annual trade deadline falls on Feb. 7 at 3:00 pm ET this season.