Teams that might otherwise be interested in trading for the Mavericks‘ Dennis Smith Jr. may prefer to try their luck with a talented crop of point guards in free agency, writes Sean Deveney of Sporting News. The Magic and Suns, who have been mentioned in trade rumors involving Smith, will both have cap room available this summer and could try to upgrade at the position without giving up any assets.
Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker will headline this year’s class, which will also feature D’Angelo Russell and Terry Rozier. They are all more traditional point guards than Smith, who was bumped out of that position in Dallas when the Mavericks drafted Luka Doncic.
“He is very athletic, but he’s not a playmaker and not a great shooter,” a front office executive said of DSJ, per Deveney. “If you have money under the cap this offseason, there are other guys you can pursue who fit better, who can pass and score.”
There are also concerns that Smith is already clashing with management midway through his second season in the league, Deveney adds. Dallas is reluctant to give up on such a talented young player a year after taking him with the No. 9 pick, but another source says he will eventually be traded, whether it happens before the February 7 deadline or sometime in the future.
Deveney shares a couple more trade-related rumors:
- The Nuggets may be willing to use their trade exceptions to help improve their defense. After some early-season progress, Denver has been allowing 115.3 points per 100 possessions over the past 15 games, placing the team 29th in the league. The Nuggets have three active trade exceptions, worth $13.7MM, $12.8MM and $5.9MM. They can’t be combined, but any of them could be enticing for teams looking to get rid of salary before the deadline.
- Jabari Parker‘s return to the Bulls‘ rotation came more out of need than coach Jim Boylen’s declaration that he has displayed more effort in practice. Deveney claims that Chicago’s front office hasn’t made any progress in its effort to trade Parker and needs him back on the floor to help spark some interest. The former No. 2 overall pick has responded by averaging 14.7 PPG in 18.0 minutes per night over past three games.
- The Bulls have no desire to accept salary beyond this season, so Deveney speculates that in order to move Parker, a three-team deal might be necessary with an under-the-cap team involved. Deveney also notes that the Knicks and Pelicans have expressed interest, but Chicago doesn’t want Courtney Lee or Solomon Hill, who are both signed through next season.