Dennis Smith Jr. isn’t long for the Dallas Mavericks. Last year’s first-round draft pick has struggled with efficiency during his first two seasons with the team and in his second year is slowly giving way to Luka Doncic’s superior playmaking and scorer.
That shouldn’t shock anyone, but Smith’s general inconsistency and inability to find his own niche in the offense might.
While DSJ appears to be on his way out of Dallas, the good news is he still has some trade value due to his immense talent and upside. The Mavericks aren’t going anywhere with him, either (+1600 odds at Bovada just to win the Southwest Division), so they might as well look for ways to get better for next season.
Doncic’s presence makes Smith pretty expendable. Dealing him would free up the wins and shift Doncic to the lead guard spot, assuming that is indeed where the Mavs want him, long-term.
If so, Dallas can potentially get some nice value back for a position they are devaluing but other teams obviously will covet.
Several Dennis Smith Jr. trade packages can be dreamed up, but the following five teams make the most sense as landing spots. There aren’t any Dennis Smith Jr. prop bets up at the moment concerning his next team, but if they do pop up, you may want to consider the following NBA franchises:
The Suns jump off the board because they’re in a deep rebuilding process and the only position they’re really hurting at is the point.
Phoenix has flirted with a number of different options to run their offense and have even handed Devin Booker lead guard duties at times. So far, nothing has stuck.
The Suns need to keep trying and right now one of their best bets is pulling the trigger on a deal that brings Smith into town. He has some flaws, but he can run their offense and provide their roster with another capable scorer.
Dallas would welcome draft picks to move DSJ, but they also might just take back solid role players that can make them a bit deeper across the board.
With a logjam of forwards, the Suns could dangle someone like Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, Kelly Oubre Jr. or T.J. Warren to facilitate the move.
New York Knicks
The Knicks are another popular landing spot for Dennis Smith Jr. Not only did they actually have a chance to nab him in last year’s draft, but they continue to have a hole at the point guard position.
Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina have all flashed solid ability, but consistency has been a major issue. There might not be a true franchise point guard in the lot and bringing in DSJ could rectify that.
Dallas would likely want at least one of those guards back in any prospective deal, while veterans like Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. would also look appealing as they try to round out their starting five.
LeBron James once said the Knicks made a mistake by passing on Dennis Smith Jr. It will be interesting to see if they find out a way to make up for that gaffe.
A trade involving the Pistons and Mavs honestly might be more about Detroit wanting to shed Reggie Jackson from their roster. His contract is gross and often times his on court game looks even worse.
It might take a third team to help a deal move along, though, because nobody would blame the Mavs for not being too interested in replacing DSJ with Jackson. Instead, it might make more sense for them to ask for some combination of Ish Smith, Luke Kennard and/or Reggie Bullock.
Dallas needs more star power, but they also need shooting and general depth. They could give up Smith to acquire the latter and then worry about trying to strike it big in free agency next summer.
The Grizzlies front office has finally admitted that their current roster isn’t going anywhere. Thanks to paltry +25000 NBA Finals odds, Memphis finally appears ready to shop Mike Conley and Marc Gasol:
For first time, Memphis will begin listening to trade offers on franchise stars Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, league sources tell ESPN. Memphis has reached a crossroads and is preparing to weigh deals involving one or both of its cornerstone veterans. Story soon on ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 22, 2019
These remain to very useful veteran in the right setting, but they can’t carry the Grizzlies on their own anymore. Memphis needs to kickstart a full rebuild and shedding these massive contracts and bringing back assets in the process is the best way to do that.
A trade with Dallas can unload one of them (almost certainly Conley) and bring back DSJ and perhaps more role players and picks to work with.
Suddenly the Mavs have a veteran two-way guard to operate their offense and that could have them one more big move from pushing their way up the Western Conference ladder.
Lastly, you have the Orlando Magic. They have had point guard issues for years and right now they’re relying on some combination of D.J. Augustin and Jerian Grant on a nightly basis.
Orlando will field calls for several of their players based on where they’re at right now, while they’re forever in the market for a long-term point guard upgrade. If they think Dennis Smith Jr. can be their guy, they absolutely talk to Dallas and see what deal makes sense.
Nikola Vucevic has an expiring deal and is one huge name the Magic can dangle, while they also have several perimeter players Dallas could desire.
Who Will Trade For Dennis Smith Jr?
If you want to get real weird with it, throw in the Lakers, who are one of three teams Dallas has reportedly had direct trade talks concerning DSJ.
When you look back at what high praise King James had for Smith, that isn’t a rumor to quickly dismiss. Then again, everyone from Damian Lillard to Kawhi Leonard appears to be on the Lakers’ radar these days, so biting down on one rumor seems silly.
For now, I think the best landing spot for DSJ is New York. The Knicks have three point guards, but in a much truer sense they don’t even have one. Getting Smith helps speed up their rebuilding process, while it also clears out some clutter and probably unloads a contract or two they really don’t want.
There are a lot of moving pieces to basically every NBA trade rumor you’ll happen upon, but the dots seem to connect here. New York needs a point guard and probably should have drafted DSJ in the first place. Dallas wants to move on. I think the two sides remake history here just as it should have been.