Storyline: Dennis Smith Trade

66 rumors in this storyline

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.”

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6 months 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.
6 months 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.”

This is Smith’s third future in Dallas, one where he leaves. It’s not imminent, and it’s not what the Mavericks are hoping for. Strictly speaking from a value perspective, Dallas has the most to gain from Smith taking another step as a player while on their roster, rather than dealing him and his unrealized potential elsewhere. But again, that could eventually be Smith’s future. If he increasingly looks like an unnatural fit next to Doncic, or if his timeline still doesn’t mesh with Dallas’ accelerated one then the Mavericks may have no choice but to deal him. Doncic is 19, and the timeline doesn’t need to be accelerated, but it seems very clear that the people on top this team want to win again, and soon. If Smith doesn’t develop quick enough, then it might be in his best interests to find a team that won’t rush or suppress him, too.
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July 23, 2019 | 9:41 pm EDT Update
It is unclear what the scope of the investigation is, or whether the league, which declined to comment, is acting on information other than reports in the news media. The investigation follows one of the most tumultuous off-seasons in N.B.A. history, with many high-profile players switching teams. The N.B.A. is also exploring whether it needs to change its rules against tampering. Several players committed to signing with a team as soon as free agency negotiations officially opened at 6 p.m. on June 30 — even though teams were not allowed to begin recruiting before then. League rules prohibit players, coaches and front office executives from enticing an athlete under contract with another team to come play for their franchise.
July 23, 2019 | 9:13 pm EDT Update