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Mavericks “escalating” trade talks for Dennis Smith Jr.; Suns and Magic are possible destinations


NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

According to reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Dallas Mavericks are “escalating discussions” to trade second year point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

Smith, who is averaging 12.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, has played just 28 games this season, missing time with a variety of injuries. In limited game time, Smith’s per game numbers are down slightly from his strong rookie season, but his percentages are strong, with Smith shooting 37.5 percent from three after shooting just over 30% last season.

From the actual story from Woj and the very-well-connected-within-the-Mavericks Tim MacMahon, it seems the relationship between Rick Carlisle and Smith has broken down.

Coach Rick Carlisle and Smith have struggled to find a common ground, league sources said. The arrival of rookie of the year favorite Luka Doncic has pushed Smith off the ball and changed the trajectory of his role with the team. Carlisle has often been frustrated with Smith’s decision-making, league sources said.

That the Mavericks are so openly willing to shop one of their few assets under 25 has understandably rankled the fanbase, including myself. That Dennis Smith and Luka Doncic have only played 27 games together (and really, just 687 minutes) is concerning. Yet in that time together, the Mavericks have a net rating of -5.0, which is not good. More importantly, Doncic and any other combination of Mavericks but Dennis Smith are +3.1.

These are not good numbers and yet it still feels premature. The combination of possible players from either the Phoenix Suns or the Orlando Magic leaves something to be desired. Adding concerns is the recent season ending injury of J.J. Barea leaves the Mavericks with few healthy rotation guards.

We’ll have more on the situation as it develops.