There are reports that Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. might be available in a trade.
Mavs rookie Luka Doncic has emerged as the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, and he’s in a position to become the face of the franchise. The Lakers have been mentioned as a team in the market for a marquee star, and while Smith Jr. hasn’t quite reached that level, he could be the closest thing to a Kyrie-Irving-like teammate for LeBron James.
Also, from a salary standpoint, it would give the Lakers an opportunity to add another potentially dynamic offensive player while still staying in a position to chase a major free agent during this and the next offseason.
Smith is in the second year of his rookie contract and his salary counts as $3.8 million this season. It’ll head to $4.4 million next year and there is a club option for $5.6 million for the 2020-21 season. While Smith’s salary is a tad smaller, perhaps a deal that sends him to L.A. and Brandon Ingram to Dallas would make sense.
After averaging 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game as a rookie, Smith’s production has dipped this season due to the arrival of Doncic. Smith, who is currently out with a wrist injury, is still scoring 13 points, grabbing three rebounds and dishing four assists per contest is only playing 28.4 minutes a game.
Ingram, who recently returned to the team, is scoring 15.5 points and grabbing 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting just under 31 percent from three-point range. Both Smith and Ingram are just 21 years old and their salaries are similar. Dallas might have to include a player like Dorian Finney-Smith with the Lakers adding on a second-round pick to fill out the deal.
The Mavericks need to clear room for Doncic and the Lakers could use another offensive player who can get his own shot. What would that mean for Lonzo Ball? It means he either becomes a long-term reserve or is potentially packaged in a deal for the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis.