The Luka Doncic-Dennis Smith Jr. era for the Dallas Mavericks may be over before it even really had a chance to ramp up. Smith, who was the No. 9 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft has played in just 28 games this season due to injuries, but it’s becoming increasingly likely his year will end with another team.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed, the Mavericks are “escalating discussions” to find a trade for the second-year point guard. In turn, teams across the league will now get an opportunity to put together their best offer for an explosive young playmaker who averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists as a rookie. And according to Wojnarowski, both the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns are already on the shortlist.
Obviously, a lot can change and a number of teams could jump into talks at any point, so things will likely remain wide open. With that said, we’re going to take a look at a few potential deals that could make sense for the Mavericks and a potential suitor. There’s no better place to start than with the two teams already mentioned.
*Note: All trades are built through ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine
For what it’s worth, I’m not sure how the Phoenix Suns value Josh Jackson in terms of his trade value. But with the current layout of the Suns roster, it would make sense for Jackson to be a centerpiece of this deal. The team recently acquired Kelly Oubre, drafted Mikal Bridges and still has TJ Warren on the roster.
The forward position is crowded in Phoenix and the key thing they’re missing currently is a point guard. Enter Smith, who’s a plug-and-play option that would immediately help ease pressure off Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. For the Mavericks side, I like Jackson a fair amount and think Richaun Holmes is an underrated power forward off the bench. He’d make an impact in Dallas.
There have been mixed reviews when it comes to the idea of trading Jonathan Isaac, and it’s understandable. He’s shown a fairly high upside to this point in his young career, and I wouldn’t blame the Magic for not going through with this deal. Obviously, the appeal of adding a point guard who has a bright future and can make an impact is big, especially considering the talent across the rest of Orlando’s roster.
One potential thought here is that if the Magic are looking to move Nikola Vucevic still, they could add a power forward to their rotation in that deal. In turn, it would give them an impressive young starting group while still having depth at almost every position. Orlando is right on the playoff fringe currently, and Smith could help get them into the postseason this year.
New York Knicks
There’s a lot to take in with this trade, but it’s worth noting the Mavericks reportedly want to move Wesley Matthews’ contract in another deal as well, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. So this deal could be a way to get both done.
While Frank Ntilikina’s time with the Knicks has taken a rough turn, it’s led to him being the topic of trade talks for the past few months. Along with that, the team is also apparently ready and willing to send Enes Kanter on his way. A fresh start for Ntilikina could be big while Kanter would provide a nice punch for the Mavericks behind DeAndre Jordan.
The Detroit Pistons have flown under the radar a bit, but I believe they’d be an interesting fit for Smith. When it comes to this potential deal, a big question would be how the Mavericks value both Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson. Both players have been a bit hit-or-miss but Bullock specifically has flashed upside.
If I were running the Mavericks, there would have to be draft picks with this offer. Bullock is a solid player and would be a good fit in Dallas, but Johnson doesn’t move the needle a ton right now. Smith’s value isn’t incredibly high at this moment, but the team should still push for a pick or two in this scenario.