Dallas’ most used and regular starting lineup most of the season — Smith, Doncic, Wes Matthews, Harrison Barnes, and DeAndre Jordan — struggle to get buckets, scoring less than a point per possession. However, sub rookie Jalen Brunson in for Smith and the offense improves by 16 points per 100 possessions.
Smith showed flashes as a rookie last season with the ball in his hands, and he’s still on his rookie contract, which means he has trade value. The Mavericks are exploring that, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN.
The Dallas Mavericks are escalating talks to trade guard Dennis Smith Jr., pushing to end a partnership that has run its course for both the franchise and former first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.
Two teams in pursuit of a point guard — Phoenix and Orlando — have been active in talks with the Mavericks, league sources said.
Dallas has also searched for deals that would include veteran Wes Matthews, who is making $18.6 million in the final year of his contract, league sources said.
Don’t be so sure Phoenix is a potential destination, according to the well-connected John Gambadoro.
How good a full-time point guard Smith would make is up for debate. He is unquestionably a fantastic athlete (which is why he dominated Summer League fresh out of college in 2017), he has a tremendous first step, can get to the rim and has finished well. However, his decision making had a long way to go — as it does with a lot of young players, but Smith frustrated coach Rick Carlisle — and his outside shot was bad enough that teams played off him and dared him to shoot.
That shot improved this season — 12.6 points a game shooting 37.5 percent from three — but Smith struggled to find a comfort level working off the ball.
Orlando and Phoenix aren’t going to surrender equal value here — Dallas isn’t getting a No. 9 pick back, which is where Smith was drafted — but both are desperate for a point guard (meaning maybe they overpay), and they can provide salary relief plus an asset or two.
Expect this trade to get done in the next few weeks, before the Feb. 7 deadline.