Dennis Smith Jr. Trade: Will Knicks Guard Make Debut vs. Celtics?

Dennis Smith Jr.

Getty Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr.

The New York Knicks struck a blockbuster trade Thursday, sending Kristaps Porzingis as the centerpiece of the package to the Dallas Mavericks. In turn, the Knicks received their potential point guard of the future in Dennis Smith Jr. along with a few other players and draft picks.

The deal was first reported by Marc Stein of the New York Times, who laid out the original framework. From there, The Athletic’s Michael Scotto added on the specifics about the two first-round draft picks the Knicks received in the trade. Here’s a look at the final details of the first big deal of the 2019 NBA trade deadline.

  • Knicks receive: Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wes Matthews, 2021 first-round pick (protected), 2023 first-round pick (protected)
  • Mavericks receive: Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Trey Burke

While the Mavericks played Thursday night, just hours after the deal was made, there was no chance their new additions would be available. The Knicks had an extra day to potentially get the new faces ready, but it seems that wasn’t enough time.


Knicks Debuts of Dennis Smith Jr. & Company Pushed Back

Smith, Jordan and Matthews won’t suit up on Friday night yet, which means the team will be left shorthanded for their game against the Boston Celtics.

This isn’t all that surprising, as it would have been an incredibly quick turnaround for the trio to make it to New York and get things squared away prior to the game. It’s somewhat unfortunate, as Friday’s game is a nationally televised one against Kyrie Irving and company, but their next chance to play will come on Sunday.

The Knicks will continue their four-game homestand on against the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. EST, and pegging that as a possible debut seems realistic.


Knicks’ New-Look Roster After Dennis Smith Jr. Trade

Position Expected Starter Backup
Center DeAndre Jordan Mitchell Robinson Enes Kanter
Power Forward Noah Vonleh Luke Kornet Lance Thomas/Isaiah Hicks
Small Forward Kevin Knox Mario Hezonja Damyean Dotson
Shooting Guard Wesley Matthews Allonzo Trier Kadeem Allen
Point Guard Dennis Smith Jr. Emmanuel Mudiay Frank Ntilikina

Smith specifically should be in for a big workload right out of the gate, as Emmanuel Mudiay is dealing with a shoulder strain and will likely be out until the All-Star break. Beyond that, Frank Ntilikina has a groin injury and could very well remain sidelined until either just prior to the break or after it.

Both DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews will likely step into starting roles for the Knicks. David Fizdale has been somewhat all over the map with his rotations, though, so it’s tough to nail down how much the new faces will play moving forward, aside from Smith.

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