Rick Carlisle Rumors
Tim Bontemps: An example of the balancing act the Mavericks are attempting with Dennis Smith Jr.: a scout who saw Dallas recently said Rick Carlisle would try to call specific plays for Smith in an attempt to try to get him going — only for Smith to break them off, leaving Carlisle frustrated.
Smith has recently expressed that he hopes to be traded, and he is frustrated with his role as Rookie of the Year frontrunner Luka Doncic has seized the reins of the offense and has had friction with coach Rick Carlisle, sources said.
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.”
The Mavs, though, have been trying to move Smith, the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, after seeing Luka Doncic emerge as a point forward who they want with the ball late in games. Carlisle didn’t get into any details about the trade, but said that the talk isn’t serving as a distraction ahead of the Mavs’ game Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs.