Dennis Smith Jr.

Latest Dennis Smith Jr. Trade Rumors

Trade discussions involving Dennis Smith Jr. have “accelerated” to the point that it would be surprising if the Mavericks don’t make a deal, a team source tells Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported on Monday that the Mavs’ trade talks for Smith had ramped up.

According to Townsend’s source, neither Smith nor his agent has requested a trade out of Dallas. “[But] if something is out there, they wouldn’t be opposed to it,” the source said of Smith’s camp. “I think this is kind of figuring out what the win-win is.”

Townsend writes that three primary factors are contributing to the Mavericks’ efforts to find a possible new home for Smith. Luka Doncic‘s rapid ascension is an important factor, as is the fact that trade offers for Smith have “escalated” recently, per Townsend. The third factor is Smith’s relationship with head coach Rick Carlisle. In his Monday report, Wojnarowski wrote that Carlisle and Smith “have struggled to find a common ground,” adding that the head coach has “often been frustrated” with the second-year guard’s decision-making.

“On a scale of one-to-10, it’s certainly not a zero,” one Mavericks source told Townsend, referring to the Carlisle-Smith relationship. “It not a zero with any player. But I wouldn’t say it’s a 10, either. It’s a factor, but it’s not something that can’t be figured out if we end up moving forward with what we have, which is honestly what we want to do.”

Wojnarowski’s initial report cited the Magic and Suns as two teams in the mix for Smith. Townsend agrees that Orlando is “heavily” involved, but suggests Phoenix is not. That echoes a report from John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, who said on Monday night that the Suns don’t have any real interest in Smith.

A subsequent report identified the Pistons as another potential suitor for Smith, and Rod Beard of The Detroit News confirms (via Twitter) that there’s at least some “mild” interest from Detroit. However, Beard notes that the cost may be a first-round pick, plus other assets, and it’s not clear if the Pistons would be willing to surrender their 2019 first-rounder and more in a deal for the 2017 lottery pick.

Pistons, Suns, Magic Pursuing Dennis Smith Jr.?

9:19pm: The Mavericks are also searching for deals that would include veteran shooting guard Wes Matthews, who is making $18.6MM in the final year of his contract, Wojnarowski reports in a follow-up story. Also within that story, sources tell Woj that Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle has “often been frustrated with Smith’s decision-making.”

Meanwhile, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 says that Phoenix has no interest in Smith, despite Woj’s report that the Suns have been active in talks with Dallas.

9:00pm: The Pistons have also talked to the Mavs about Smith Jr., longtime NBA columnist Mitch Lawrence tweets.

8:30 pm: The Mavericks are ramping up trade discussions for point guard Dennis Smith Jr., ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. The Suns and Magic are involved in talks with the Mavs, Wojnarowski adds.

Smith Jr. has missed the last three games with a sore back.

There’s tons of buzz regarding Smith Jr., ESPN’s Zach Lowe confirms in a tweet. However, it’s unclear what kind of package the Mavs are seeking for the 21-year-old.

The ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft seemed like a star in the making during his rookie campaign. He averaged 15.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 5.2 APG in 69 games. The North Carolina State is shooting at a more efficient rate this season, improving his overall field goal percentage from 39.5% to 44.3% and his 3-point success from 31.3% to 37.5%. Still, his slash line of 12.6/2.6/3.9 reflects how he’s struggled to find chemistry alongside rookie sensation Luka Doncic.

Smith has also been turnover prone, coughing it up at a rate of 3.1 per game compared to 2.8 last season despite averaging two fewer minutes.

Mavericks Notes: Doncic, Free Agency, Porter

The Mavericks haven’t had much luck recruiting star free agents to Dallas over the last several years, but it’s possible that Luka Doncic could help change that, Sean Deveney writes in his latest Sporting News article. With longtime star Dirk Nowitzki on his last legs, Doncic looks like the Mavs’ next franchise player, and the idea of playing alongside the young star could appeal to players considering Dallas in free agency.

“It’s always hard to make that pitch and get over the hump with free agents,” a league source said to Deveney. “But they (the Mavericks) didn’t really have a chance with those guys. Players mostly like (owner Mark) Cuban, and they were always a compelling enough franchise to get in the room with LeBron (James) and Dwight Howard and other stars. But they could not present themselves as a team with a great future.

“They can do that now,” the source continued. “Not sure they can push a star to put his name on the line, but ‘Come play with Luka,’ it’s a better message.”

As that source hints, it still seems unlikely that the Mavs will be a serious player this summer for elite free agents like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, or Klay Thompson. However, Deveney believes that it might be worth the effort for the team to make an offer to one or more of those players. The franchise will have significant cap room this summer and it would serve as a reminder that Dallas can still be an appealing destination for top players. Khris Middleton and DeMarcus Cousins could also be targets, Deveney adds.

Here’s more out of Dallas:

  • Michael Scotto of The Athletic previously reported that the Mavericks have interest in Otto Porter, which Deveney confirms. According to Deveney though, the Wizards seem uninterested in moving Porter as a pure salary dump, and Dallas likely wouldn’t want to include draft picks or Dennis Smith Jr. as part of an offer to Washington.
  • Count Dirk Nowitzki among those optimistic about the Mavericks’ future, as Deveney relays. “We’ve been through some tough years — a lot after the championship — but the last couple, extremely tough,” Nowitzki said. “But we feel like we have got some great young guys. We drafted Dennis last year and we drafted Luka this year. Those are some great young guys we can build around. They’re both only 20 years old or so. We have some cornerstones we can build on. Hopefully this franchise is going in the right direction.”
  • Jalen Brunson and Devin Harris are among the guards who could see increased workloads with J.J. Barea sidelined for the rest of the season, writes Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News. As Caplan details, head coach Rick Carlisle called Barea’s torn Achilles a “gut-wrenching” injury.
  • The Mavericks applied for a disabled player exception as a result of Barea’s injury. Here’s our full story on what exactly that means.

Texas Notes: Gordon, Knight, D. Smith, Gasol

The Rockets‘ backcourt, already depleted by Chris Paul‘s hamstring injury, may be even more shorthanded after Eric Gordon limped off the court late in last night’s win at New Orleans. Gordon will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of a bruised right knee, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gordon tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle that he banged knees with someone early on and the pain increased throughout the game.

“I don’t have an answer right now,” Gordon said Saturday about the possibility of missing games. “I’ll know a lot more tomorrow probably. My knee is a little painful to play. We’ll see what happens. I hate to come out of the game like that, being injured.”

There’s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:

  • Rockets guard Brandon Knight was willing to accept a G League assignment to get more playing time, Feigen writes in a separate story. As a seven-year veteran, Knight could have refused, but he wants to get on the court as much as possible after missing a year and a half following an ACL tear. “It’s just an impossible situation with us,” coach Mike D’Antoni explained. “He played very limited minutes. He would have wasted three or four months just sitting there watching. That’s what the G League’s made (for.) More guys should probably take advantage of it. Our team uses it a lot.”
  • Rumors that the Mavericks are looking to trade second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr. are way overblown, announcer Chuck Cooperstein said in a radio interview excepted by The Dallas Morning News. Marc Stein of The New York Times recently reported that executives around the league expect Smith to eventually be moved because of the emergence of rookie Luka Doncic, but Cooperstein stressed that the story never indicated Dallas is actively looking for a deal.
  • Spurs center Pau Gasol was on the active roster for the first time in nearly two months Friday, but it’s not clear what his role will be for the rest of the season, writes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News. Jakob Poeltl has been averaging nearly 20 minutes a game, and coach Gregg Popovich hasn’t explained how he plans to fit Gasol back into the rotation. “He’s Pau,” Popovich said before last night’s game. “He does what he does. … He’s a good passer. He’s been doing the same thing for a million years.”

Charania’s Latest: Kings, Mavs, Simmons, Celtics

The Kings were identified earlier this month as a probable buyer on the trade market, but rival executives don’t sense any urgency to make major changes in Sacramento, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. At 18-16 so far this season, the Kings are ahead of schedule in their rebuilding process and are essentially “playing with house money” at this point, Charania notes.

With a handful of veterans on expiring contracts and about $11MM in cap room available immediately, the Kings are in a good position to make a move if they so choose. However, it sounds unlikely that Iman Shumpert – one of those veterans on an expiring contract – will be going anywhere. De’Aaron Fox has credited Shumpert for bringing leadership and championship experience to Sacramento, writes Charania.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Mavericks want to improve their roster and are “open for business,” according to Charania, who reiterates that teams around the NBA are monitoring Dennis Smith Jr. We heard earlier this week that Dallas has gauged the market on Smith.
  • Rival teams believe Magic swingman Jonathon Simmons will be among the players available on the trade market this season, per Charania. A previous report indicated that Orlando would probably prefer to move Simmons instead of Terrence Ross.
  • Major in-season changes are unlikely in Boston, since trading a player like Terry Rozier or Jaylen Brown for a draft pick wouldn’t help the Celtics win now. As Charania details, the C’s may re-evaluate their roster closer to the deadline, but the club is unlikely to cash in any major assets until at least the 2019 offseason.
  • The Rockets have had discussions about Hawks wing Kent Bazemore, who is expected to draw interest from multiple contending teams, according to Charania.
  • Several teams have inquired with the Bulls about Justin Holiday, league sources tell Charania.
  • Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith is known to be on the trade block, but clubs with interest in Smith are monitoring the situation to see whether he’ll end up on the buyout market, Charania writes.
  • Charania wonders if the Grizzliesdecision to make Chandler Parsons a healthy inactive will eventually lead to a standoff between the player and the team.

Mavericks Reportedly Gauging Interest In Dennis Smith Jr.

The emergence of Luka Doncic along with skepticism of Dennis Smith Jr.‘s effectiveness on the court alongside the rookie standout has led to the expectation the Mavericks will eventually trade Smith, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

Dallas has denied any interest in moving Smith, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). However, executives from other teams tell MacMahon that the Mavericks are “at least gauging [the] market” for their guard.

Smith, 21, is in his second NBA season being drafted in the first round (ninth overall) by the Mavericks in the 2017 NBA Draft. He emerged as a solid player in his rookie season, averaging 15.2 PPG and 5.2 APG for Dallas in 69 games. However, injuries have limited Smith in his sophomore campaign.

The North Carolina State product has played in just three of the Mavericks’ 12 games in December due to a wrist injury. In 21 games, Smith is averaging 13.0 PPG and 4.0 APG, but his field goal percentage has improved from 39.5% as a rookie to 43.7% this season.

As Stein notes, the Mavericks are “plotting” to build their roster around Doncic. Smith would likely attract significant interest and the Mavs also have veteran swingman Wesley Matthews in the final year of his deal as a trade chip.

At 15-17, the Mavericks are just 2.5 games behind the Kings for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Once Smith’s wrist injury improves, he will likely remain a crucial part of Dallas’ rotation, but his future with the team beyond that is to be determined.

Southwest Notes: Davis, Paul, Parsons, Brooks, Smith

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry believes LeBron James‘ comment that it would be “amazing” to play with Anthony Davis constitutes tampering, William Guillory of The Athletic tweets. An NBA statement on Friday indicated the James’ statement did not rise to the level of tampering. Gentry vehemently disagreed. “It’s tampering,” Gentry said. “Should we have AD say, ‘Why don’t we trade for LeBron?'” Gentry went on further to say, “I thought if you talked about a player under contract, it’s tampering. That’s just me. I’ve only been in the league for 31 years, so what would I know?”

We have more from around the Southwest Division:

  • Rockets All-Star guard Chris Paul has a Grade 2 hamstring strain and will be reevaluated in two weeks, according to a team press release. Paul suffered the injury against Miami on Thursday.
  • The Grizzlies are hopeful that forwards Chandler Parsons and Dillon Brooks will return to action soon, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Parsons hasn’t played since the third game this season due to knee and back soreness but has ramped up his workouts lately. Brooks, who has not played since November 10th due to a Grade II MCL sprain, should return before the New Year. They could boost an offense that has reached 100 points just once the past 10 games, Cobb adds.
  • On that same topic, Michael Wallace of the team’s website notes that rookie forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and veteran combo guard Shelvin Mack have slumped recently. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff believes confidence is a factor for the team in general. “We can come up with schemes and tricks and all that, but on the offensive end of the floor, we’ve got to take the shots that are available to us,” he said. “We’ve got to believe the shots are going in. Guys are working their tails off, taking their reps. We’ve got to get them those shots, and when they get them, they’ve got to take them and knock them down.”
  • Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr. probably won’t play again until after Christmas, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports.  Smith has missed six of the last seven games due to a wrist injury. He’s unlikely to return until after the team’s road trip, which concludes Sunday.  Their next home game is Wednesday against the Pelicans.
  • Davis’ decision whether to sign a Designated Veteran extension with the Pelicans looms as one of this summer’s biggest stories, as Danny Leroux of The Athletic notes. Davis has no financial incentive to wait until potential free agency the following summer, so if he doesn’t sign it, that probably means he wants out of New Orleans, as Leroux details.

Texas Notes: Mbah a Moute, Anthony, Mavericks, DeRozan

Luc Mbah a Moute only played one season with the Rockets, but he admits it’s going to be an odd feeling when he faces his former teammates tonight, relays Mirjam Swanson of The Daily Bulletin. Mbah a Moute came to Houston as a free agent last summer at the urging of Chris Paul, then returned to the Clippers over the offseason after receiving a one-year, $4.3MM offer.

“It’s always, always [weird],” said Mbah a Moute, who has been with six organizations in his 10-year career. “Especially that team, we had a really good team and a chance to do something special, so it’s going to be weird, but I look forward to it.”

Mbah a Moute provided a strong defensive presence off the bench for the Rockets. He averaged 7.5 PPG and shot .364 from 3-point range, but a late-season shoulder injury limited his effectiveness in the playoffs.

There’s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:

  • Carmelo Anthony seems like an uncomfortable fit with a Rockets team that emphasizes 3-point shooting, and a look at the stats shows he will have to change his game to be effective in Houston, according to Ben Alamar of ESPN.
  • The future the Mavericks envision was on display in Saturday’s win over the Timberwolves, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. First-round pick Luka Doncic had 26 points and six rebounds, while last year’s star rookie, Dennis Smith Jr., poured in 19 points, including the game-winning shot. “Hey, if that was a peek at the future, it’s looking good,” said J.J. Barea. “Great win. And you see Luka. He just plays the game. And Junior, he had foul trouble, stuck with it and made the big shot. He took a tough shot and made it. They’re tough.”
  • DeMar DeRozan has adapted quickly to his new situation with the Spurs, relays Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express News. DeRozan had a difficult time changing teams after nine seasons in Toronto, but he’s averaging 28.0 PPG through his first two games with San Antonio. “He’s absorbed everything we’ve given him so far, knowing full well it’s a new system,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “It will take some time for him to feel totally comfortable, but he’s highly intelligent. It’s the NBA, it’s not rocket science so he’s picking it up pretty quickly.”
  • Former Spurs forward DeJuan Blair is back in the organization after being drafted by Austin in Saturday’s G League draft, McDonald adds in the same story.

Mavs Exercise Dennis Smith’s 2019/20 Option

Another team has exercised its 2019/20 option on a player with a rookie scale contract, with Dwain Price of reporting (via Twitter) that Dennis Smith Jr.‘s third-year option has been picked up by the Mavericks. The move locks in Smith’s $4,463,640 cap charge for the ’19/20 season.

Smith, who will turn 21 next month, had a solid rookie season in 2017/18 after Dallas made him the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft. He put up 15.2 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 3.8 RPG in 69 games (all starts). His role figures to be adjusted slightly this season due to the arrival of 2018’s third overall pick, Luka Doncic, another talented young ball-handler and play-maker.

Smith still has a fourth-year team option for 2020/21 and – assuming that option is exercised – will become extension-eligible during the summer of 2020.

The Knicks (Frank Ntilikina) and Nets (Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen) have also picked up rookie scale team options today. The deadline isn’t until October 31, but several clubs appear to be getting those decisions out of the way before the regular season gets underway.

Mavericks Notes: Jordan, Smith, Doncic

The success of the DeAndre Jordan signing will be determined by how well he can work in the pick and roll with Dennis Smith and Luka Doncic, writes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Adding Jordan on a one-year, $22.9MM contract and moving up in the draft to take Doncic were the major offseason moves for a team that finished 23 games out of the playoff race.

Jordan not only solves the Mavericks’ rebounding problem — he’s led the league twice in that category and averaged a career best 15.2 boards per game last season — he adds an extra dimension to coach Rick Carlisle’s offense. Jordan has shot better than 60% from the field in each of his 10 NBA seasons and mastered the pick and roll with Chris Paul in Los Angeles.

There’ more today out of Dallas:

  • Improving his 3-point shot is the best way for Smith to avoid a sophomore slump, Sefko writes in a separate player profile. Smith shot just 31% from long distance last season, and defenders figure to give him more space as they try to cut off his drives to the basket. Sefko notes that Smith didn’t wear down during his first season in the league, with his scoring, assists and shooting percentages over the final 15 games all rating better than his season averages.
  • The Mavericks insist Doncic can be a difference maker, but it’s going to be a while before we know for sure, Sefko writes in another profile. Dallas made a bold move to trade up to the No. 3 spot in the draft to acquire Doncic and team him with Smith in its backcourt of the future. Although he cautions it will take at least another year, Sefko expects Doncic and Smith to develop into the foundation of a playoff team.
  • Doncic will be a strong candidate for Rookie of the Year honors, though he’ll get noticed more for his passing than scoring, writes Matt Mosley of The Dallas Morning News. He compares Doncic to Sixers guard Ben Simmons and suggests that the Knicks’ Kevin Knox may be a surprise winner of this year’s ROY honors.