NBA rumors: Dennis Smith Jr. staying with the Blazers

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Paul Garcia: Some players who have signed training camp deals with teams per Real GM recently: Matt Thomas - Bulls, Marquese Chriss - Blazers, George King - Clippers, Dennis Smith Jr.- Blazers
Adrian Wojnarowski: Free agent guard Dennis Smith Jr., has signed a deal to attend training camp with the Portland Trail Blazers, sources tell ESPN. Smith played 23 games between Detroit and New York last season.
Last week, former Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. told DallasBasketball.com that he was interested in making a return to his old team. But the real question after that was, what would the Mavs’ interest level be in a Smith Jr. comeback? “We don’t have (any open) roster spots yet,” Cuban tells DallasBasketball.com when asked about potentially bringing Smith Jr. back. “But if that changes, it's a conversation to have.”
Marc Berman: Source confirms PG Elfrid Payton return to Phoenix is strong possibility. Payton has 17 career triple doubles. Meanwhile, Dennis Smith Jr. and Frank Ntilikina, Knicks teammates to start 2020-21, still unsigned. Smith won't be back in Detroit, per source.
The month-long G-League competition, which begins Feb. 10 at Disney World, also offers Smith Jr. exposure before the trade deadline and free agency. His rookie contract, which pays out $5.7 million this season, expires in the summer. The Knicks are expected to grant Smith Jr.’s G-League request, according to a league source.
Ntilikina and Smith both are in the final years of their rookie contracts and haven’t lit the league on fire yet. They have vastly different styles. Ntilikina is a playmaker and defender, while Smith is a scorer and penetrator. Smith has even changed his jersey number to No. 4 — which he wore at North Carolina State. “We’re three days in, so I’m getting to know both guys,’’ Thibodeau said after the third day of voluntary group practices that is part of the NBA’s in-market OTAs for the “Delete 8.’’
“I like what they’ve done so far. They got to continue to work. There’s often times ups and downs for young players. There’s a learning curve they have to go through. Some experiences will be better than others. “They both have had some good moments in the league. You want to build a consistency. And how do you get there? You have to do it through your work. You have to learn from the experiences. And you have to be disciplined. And so, hopefully we can get there this is a very important offseason for both players.”
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December 1, 2021 | 6:22 pm EST Update