NBA Rumor: Dennis Smith Trade?

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NBA scouts on Derrick Rose trade: He can teach Immanuel Quickley some things

The New York Knicks have acquired Derrick Rose, reuniting him with coach Tom Thibodeau for the third time, in exchange for Dennis Smith Jr. and a 2021 second-round pick (via Charlotte), according to multiple reports. HoopsHype spoke with four NBA scouts about their reaction to the trade and what it means for New York’s playoff chances and the development of rookie guard Immanuel Quickley.

Pistons will likely receive Hornets' second-round pick which New York owns

For Detroit, the trade fulfills its desires to get younger and add more assets. Smith, the No. 9 pick in the 2017 draft, started off his NBA career on the right foot. But after averaging 15.2 points as a rookie with the Mavericks, he has since struggled to find his way in the league. He was traded to the Knicks in 2019 and had been gearing up to play for their G League affiliate in the Orlando bubble.

Pistons sending Knicks close to $2 million in Derrick Rose trade

Smith may provide point-guard depth to the Pistons for the rest of the season while rookie point guard Killian Hayes recovers from a labrum tear in his right hip. It’s an opportunity for Smith, who is in the final year of his rookie deal and will become an unrestricted free agent if his $7.7 million qualifying offer for next season isn’t matched. The Pistons will shed close to $2 million in salary in the Smith-Rose swap.

As we get closer to the draft, free agency and as trade talks heat up, there’s something worth noting about the Knicks’ point guard situation: Dennis Smith Jr. still has significant support in the organization and there are people with the Knicks would like to see Smith Jr. get a legitimate chance to bounce back after an uneven 2019-20 season. Smith dealt with injuries and the death of a close family member over the course of last season. We took a look at some of the context around Smith’s season in a mailbag earlier in the summer.

Bobby Portis on the block

Even without a Drummond splash, the Knicks could still be busy at the deadline. Dennis Smith Jr. is available and is certainly amenable to a relocation after struggling in New York. Marcus Morris is a strong asset on an expiring contract but the Knicks are hesitant to part with their best and most consistent player. The Knicks, according to a source, are more eager to part with Bobby Portis, who is also on an expiring deal but less valuable.

“Everything happens for a reason, you know what I’m saying?” Dennis Smith Jr. said after Thursday’s practice in Tarrytown. “It was already written, God’s plan, I just gotta execute my part, put my work in and everything will work out. It’s a business. I’m here, playing for the New York Knicks, that’s my job right now, so that’s what I’m focused on. You realized [last year] anything can happen, so you just gotta be the best version of yourself.”

With two weeks left before the Feb. 6 trade deadline, the 22-year-old Smith remains behind Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina in the Knicks’ point-guard rotation. The 22-year-old former lottery pick potentially could be moved for the second consecutive year, but doing so would represent an admitted mistake by the Knicks’ front office after Smith was obtained from Dallas in last year’s Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster. “Everything happens for a reason, you know what I’m saying?” Smith said after Thursday’s practice in Tarrytown. “It was already written, God’s plan, I just gotta execute my part, put my work in and everything will work out.

While his teammates went through the morning shootaround Saturday at Georgetown University before taking on the Wizards, Dennis Smith Jr. casually put up some shots in sweatpants, resting a strained oblique and looking very little like a part of the team. But he insisted that despite growing rumors and the reality of his situation, he isn’t trying to force his way out of New York. While the Knicks hardly have hid the intentions of the front office — signing seven free agents to short-term deals this past summer and counting roster flexibility as the best hope for the group — their 8-24 record entering Saturday and crowded roster have the players interested in trades, too. According to an SNY report this week, Smith is one of several Knicks hoping to be traded.

Q: So the speculation from fans and media that he’d be a part of a trade package in a deal for Anthony Davis – that’s not on his radar? A: “I’ve never heard Junior say anything about trade rumors. I haven’t heard that. For whoever is reading this, he’s the type of kid who controls what he can control. And right now, what he can control is getting in better shape and being a better shooter and being a better player, totally. He doesn’t put energy toward (trade rumors). Of course, he hears it. I think he lives on the planet Earth, so it’s kind of hard with all of this social media stuff. Does he dwell on it? No. Does he lose sleep over it? No.”
2 years ago via ESPN

“I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I know one thing: This kid is a team guy, and he loves being with his teammates, and he really respects his teammates,” Carlisle said Friday on 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas. “This is just my feeling, is that he’s being told to stay away for whatever reason. I just don’t want people out there to think he is snubbing the Mavs or anything like that. This is just my opinion, I believe there’s business stuff going on, and he’s being told to stay away. Listen, if that’s what they feel is in his best interests, he should trust his advisers. But it’s unlike him not to want to be with his teammates.

The second is a function of the market as it stands. According to league sources, while there are certainly teams interested in Smith, there is some reluctance to make a commitment to him because there could be other more traditional young point guards on the market this summer. There will be the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker in free agency, of course. But for rebuilding teams in need of a point guard — Orlando and Phoenix have been mentioned as possible Smith suitors — the preference is to take aim at young restricted free agents like Terry Rozier or D’Angelo Russell this summer rather than gamble on whether Smith can develop into a point guard. “He is very athletic, but he’s not a playmaker and not a great shooter,” one front office executive told SN. “If you have money under the cap this offseason (the Suns and Magic will), there are other guys you can pursue who fit better, who can pass and score.”

Personality-wise, Carlisle loves Smith, but they’re less of a match on the basketball court. Certainly, Smith is seasons away from being an effective true point guard, although it’s plausible there’s another productive role that could be created in the meantime for the ridiculously explosive athlete with a knack for scoring. As of Thursday, it’s still unclear if Carlisle has even spoken to Smith, saying Tuesday that he had only spoken to his agent, Glenn Schwartzman, and expected Smith to play moving forward if healthy.
2 years ago via ESPN

Tim MacMahon: “Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks are trying hard to trade him, and the problem is, everybody in the league knows that they’re desperately trying to move him, and it’s really hard to get value–“ Brian Windhorst: “And [teams] have known for weeks. You’ve had a couple of stories about it recently, but you knew before that, too.” MacMahon: “It was just kind of known around the league, ‘Hey, the Mavs are shopping Dennis Smith Jr.’ And it’s intensified. But clearly, there’s not an offer they like, because he’s still on the roster, just not at the arena. His mysterious back injury healed, and now he’s ‘sick’.”

Carlisle indicated that he assumed DSJ would attend practice, but then had a conversation with Smith’s agent Glenn Schwartzmann, and then was informed that the player would be absent with a stomach virus. Smith Jr. is now listed as questionable for Dallas’ home game on Wednesday against the Spurs. “You get into this business knowing trades are possible, that everything is possible,” said Carlisle, who as I have reported before in this space is unusually tough on this particular player, which may be the root of the disgruntlement. “(An NBA team) is already a pot of boiling water. Then a couple of degrees here or there, then ‘big deal’.”

NBA sources cite two factors: The swift ascendance of rookie Luka Doncic and quicker-than-expected trajectory change in the franchise’s outlook. And, to a lesser degree, the continued butting of heads between Smith and coach Rick Carlisle about some of the second-year guard’s on-court decision-making. “On a scale of one-to-10, it’s certainly not a zero,” a Mavericks source said of the Carlisle-Smith element. “It not a zero with any player. But I wouldn’t say it’s a 10, either. It’s a factor, but it’s not something that can’t be figured out if we end up moving forward with what we have, which is honestly what we want to do.”

A Mavericks source says the franchise’s hope when it drafted Doncic was that Doncic-Smith could blossom into a 21st-century version of Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars, the backcourt tandem that led the Detroit Pistons to NBA championships in 1989 and 1990. The Mavericks source, though, compared Smith’s situation this season to that of an only child who suddenly wakes up with a new sibling who’s suddenly getting most of the attention. The “sibling rivalry,” the source said, mostly has had a positive effect in Smith improving his strength and conditioning and raising his shooting percentage.

“I talked to his agent this morning,” Carlisle said. “My expectation is that when his backs feeling good and he’s feeling well from an illness standpoint he’ll be back playing. We all get into this business knowing that it’s dynamic and that trades are possible. Everything’s possible, coaching changes, you name it. It’s already a boiling pot of water, and a couple of degrees here or there, big deal. We’ve all got to be professional.”

Early this morning, Smith “liked” a Slam Magazine Instagram post that detailed the reported interest in him from Orlando and Phoenix and a Mavericks source confirmed to The News that trade discussions have accelerated to the point that it would be a major surprise if a deal isn’t struck. The source emphasized that neither Smith nor his agent has asked for a trade, but “if something is out there, they wouldn’t be opposed to it. I think this is kind of figuring out what the win-win is.”

So what happened to the Smith-Mavericks marriage that began so promisingly after the Mavericks made him the No. 9 pick of the June 2017 draft? NBA sources cite two factors: The swift ascendance of rookie Luka Doncic and quicker-than-expected trajectory change in the franchise’s outlook. And, to a lesser degree, the continued butting of heads between Smith and coach Rick Carlisle about some of the second-year guard’s on-court decision-making. “On a scale of one-to-10, it’s certainly not a zero,” a Mavericks source said of the Carlisle-Smith element. “It not a zero with any player. But I wouldn’t say it’s a 10, either. It’s a factor, but it’s not something that can’t be figured out if we end up moving forward with what we have, which is honestly what we want to do.”
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“I wouldn’t say (my passion has been) taken away, that’s probably a little bit too strong,” VanVleet said on Saturday. “But there’s certainly ups and downs to this thing more than I’ve ever experienced in my life. To be honest, this is probably the most unpure year of basketball I’ve ever been a part of, just from the whole league and rushing the season back. “It’s pretty much all about business this year on every level and it’s hard to hide it, you know what I’m saying? The NBA is a great balance of like the pure love and joy of one of the best sports in the world mixed with a billion-dollar industry, and I think this year the industry side has taken precedence over some of the love and the joy.”
“I can sit up here and complain about the NBA all I want to, but I’m a part of it, you know what I’m saying?” VanVleet said. “I’m directly profiting off of it. We did vote on what season we wanted. “But I can point out that this is what it is, and (these are the) the pros and cons that come with that. It’s very conflicting but not so much (because) of my craft, because I just go out there and that’s the way I play and that’s the way I approach every day. I’m (going to) take whatever consequences come with that because this is what I signed up for. But there’s certainly a lot of information that plays a role in all of these things that we’re seeing with our eyes. It’s not as simple as it looks all the time.”
After Celtics star Jayson Tatum scored 44 points to lead his team to a 119-114 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, overcoming a spectacular 47-point performance from Stephen Curry in the process, Tatum said it was a thrill for him to go toe-to-toe with the future Hall of Famer and come out on top. “Just mutual respect,” Tatum said, when asked about the conversation the two had on the court inside TD Garden afterward. “Obviously two big performances. I was glad that we got the win, but obviously he’s one of the all-time greats. “Just to earn his respect and get a win on the same night … it was a good night.”
Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry scored 47 points on Saturday night, becoming the first player since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant to score at least 30 or more points in 10 straight games at age 33 or older. Curry, in his 12th NBA season, acknowledged that this is one of the best stretches he’s ever been on during his storied career.
“Statistically, it is for sure,” Curry said after the 119-114 loss to the Boston Celtics. “This season’s required something a little bit different. I’m trying to meet that moment. It’s a fun brand of basketball, just trying to put wins together with it. And I have supreme confidence; I’ve been blessed with a very special skillset that I’m trying to continue to master and hone and get better at. And that’s showing, the work is showing, so I’m trying to obviously sustain that for this season because it’s required for us to get to where we want to go.”