The situation involving the Dallas Mavericks and point guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s potential trade has taken multiple turns as of late. While it originally seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the 2017 first-round pick would be on the move soon, things flipped Thursday afternoon. And then shortly after, it seems they may have turned once again.
It was becoming apparent that Smith’s role with the Mavericks wasn’t working for either side, and the team wanted to keep the ball in Luka Doncic’s hands more often. This is why when ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported Thursday that Dallas was hoping to reconcile with Smith, it came as a surprise.
The Dallas Mavericks are optimistic that they can reconcile and move forward with point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and are insistent they won’t trade their 2017 lottery pick unless they get good value in return, sources told ESPN.
MacMahon goes on to cite a source who stated that “plan A is still to fix this,” referencing the relationship with the 21-year-old. But Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com threw some cold water on that idea shortly after, pointing to a source saying things “changed” with head coach Rick Carlisle in recent weeks. So much so, that Smith still wants to be traded.
‘Rick was always hard on DSJ. Maybe too hard. But in the last couple of weeks, something changed. And yeah, Dennis thinks it’d be best if he’s traded.’ Fisher tweeted from a source close to the situation.
Dennis Smith Jr.’s Relationship With Rick Carlisle
It’s tough to gauge exactly what the situation between Smith and the Mavericks coach looks like currently, but it’s not good. Even beyond the above comments from Fisher which point to there being some type of possible issue for an extended period, ESPN and MacMahon echoed a similar sentiment.
The analyst said there’s been “friction” between Smith and Carlisle, but in the same story, he states that sources believe the Mavericks coach would welcome the young guard back.
Several team sources downplayed the friction between Smith and Carlisle, characterizing it as a coach being demanding of a young player in the best interests of his development. Smith’s poor decision-making and his tendency to over-dribble have been sources of frustration for Carlisle, sources said, but such growing pains are typical for young players.
Sources said Carlisle would welcome continuing to coach Smith.
Based on the comments from Smith above, it doesn’t seem that he’s interested in staying in town for the foreseeable future.
Dennis Smith Jr.’s Potential Landing Spots
If the end result of these talks relating to Smith’s future lead to a trade, there will almost certainly be plenty of potential suitors. The former No. 9 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft has flashed tremendous upside and explosive athletic ability. For any point guard-needy team, he could be a perfect fit both for the remainder of this season and beyond.
Teams such as the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons have all been popular names thus far. The New York Knicks could be interesting, but Emmanuel Mudiay has started to come into his own for them. Overall, there should be no shortage of interest, but the offers still may not be up to the standards of what the Mavericks are seeking.