The Dallas Mavericks are going to have to find a way to replace Jalen Brunson’s production next year. Brunson decided to sign with the New York Knicks in free agency, leaving the Mavericks high and dry. With little money to spend, they may have to get creative.
Spencer Dinwiddie will likely step into the starting role, as he played well for the Mavericks after being traded there at the deadline last year. In addition, second-round rookie Jaden Hardy has impressed during Summer League and could be ready to step into an immediate rotational role with the team.
But the Mavericks are reportedly exploring another option, too. According to Dalton Trigg of DallasBasketball.com and Sports Illustrated, Dallas is expected to take a look at former Maverick Dennis Smith Jr. They will be attending his private workout in Las Vegas during Summer League.
“Source tells DallasBasketball.com that the Mavs are expected to be in attendance for Dennis Smith Jr.’s private workout in Vegas,” Trigg tweeted.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports was one of the first to report on Smith Jr.’s workout, revealing that around 10 NBA teams will be in attendance.
“Former lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. will be holding a private workout in Las Vegas on Monday in front of approximately 10 NBA teams, his agent Daniel Hazan of @hazansportsmgmt tells @YahooSports,” Haynes tweeted.
This isn’t the first time Smith Jr. has been connected to Dallas lately, either, as the point guard commented on a possible reunion at the end of June.
Smith Jr. Open to Dallas Reunion
On June 28, Trigg spoke with Smith Jr. about the idea of him rejoining the Mavericks. Not only is Smith Jr. open to the idea, but he believes that he could seriously help the Mavericks as they attempt to contend for a title.
“They need [more] athleticism, someone who can get to the rim and play in transition,” Smith Jr. told Trigg. “It’s no question about what I’ll bring on the defensive side.”
In addition, Smith Jr. elaborated, stating that he’d be more than willing to play for the Mavericks again.
“I’m with it,” Smith said when asked about a potential return to Dallas. “You know that.”
Smith Jr. played in 37 games for the Portland Trail Blazers this past season. In those games, he averaged 5.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals on 41.8% shooting from the field and 22.2% shooting from behind the three-point line.
With Brunson’s departure, there could be a serious opportunity for Smith Jr. in Dallas, but rumors of his potential return are surprising, considering the way he left the Mavericks the first time around.
Smith Jr.’s Ugly Time in Dallas
In an article written by Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Smith Jr.’s poor relationship with former Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was detailed. MacMahon reported that multiple Mavericks players noted a situation where Carlisle accused Smith Jr. of being jealous of Mavericks star Luka Doncic.
“Multiple players were shocked during one early-season team meeting when Carlisle accused Smith of being jealous of Doncic, sources said,” reported Macmahon. “The players considered it incredibly unfair to Smith, who wasn’t playing well but was making an honest effort to mesh with Doncic on the court.”
There was no ill-will from the side of Doncic, though. In fact, he resented Carlisle for how he treated his teammate.
“Doncic particularly resented what he perceived as Carlisle’s attempt to pit him against his friend and teammate, team sources said,” wrote MacMahon.
Based on that note, Doncic and Smith Jr. presumably have no bad blood, making a Smith Jr. reunion not only possible but potentially a good idea for both parties, especially now that Carlisle has left Dallas.