Dallas Mavericks Rumors: Why Dennis Smith Jr. is not on the market

Dennis Smith Jr. #1 of the Dallas Mavericks. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Dennis Smith Jr. #1 of the Dallas Mavericks. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Rumors recently surfaced indicating the Dallas Mavericks are shopping second-year guard, Dennis Smith Jr., on the trade market. Here’s why that’s not happening…

The marriage of Dennis Smith Jr and Luka Doncic was always in question. This year’s wunderkind matched with last year’s wunderkind looked ill-fitting on the Dallas Mavericks roster. This too-many ball handlers situation was only exasperated by the addition of PG Jalen Brunson and key carry-over PG, J.J. Barea.

From the moment Luka was drafted, speculation arose as to whether the pair could co-exist and how much time would be given to the duo before DSJ is traded away. As such, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear vague trade talk spark up again over the Holidays.

Marc Stein, one of the most reliable sources of NBA rumors recently stated in his New York Times newsletter that outside executives are expecting a move. Says Stein:

"“The instant emergence of the Dallas rookie Luka Doncic, combined with longstanding skepticism about Smith’s ability to flourish alongside Doncic in an off-the-ball capacity, has spawned the expectation among many executives that Smith will eventually be moved.”"

A few months into their first season, I’m not sure anything can be considered “longstanding”, but the “ongoing skepticism” is a good point to make. The Dallas Mavericks starting five have yet to gel and losing Dennis Smith Jr for the past half-a-dozen games, did little to help the melding situation.

It shouldn’t be surprising outside executives see weakness here and are hoping to exploit the chemistry problems of the Dallas Mavericks and steal DSJ away for pennies on the dollar. But it’s important to point out, these are words from “outside executives”, not Dallas executives. Tim McMahon may call that “semantics” but I think it’s a pretty important distinction

Of course the Mavs are listening to offers and entertaining those feelers. It’s what you do as an NBA front office. Especially when the player discussed legitimately has questions as to his fit on the team. I’m not saying a DSJ trade will never happen, I’m saying it’s no more likely today than it was the day Luka was drafted.

DSJ is making an effort

When Dallas added Luka Doncic, the first thing I thought was if DSJ wants to make this work, it will work. That’s because DSJ is one of the most physically gifted players in the NBA. If he wants to do something, he probably can. Since it’s clear Luka is a player who needs the ball in his hands and is a liability on defense, playing alongside him requires DSJ increase his effort defensively, play better off the ball, and improve his outside shot.

Less than halfway into their first season, it appears DSJ is doing all of those things. His defense was excellent in November (he’s missed most of December due to injury), he’s moving better without the ball in his hands, and he’s improved his three point percentage.

DSJ is under team control for two more seasons on the cheap, it just makes sense the Dallas Mavericks use majority of that time developing him and working on his cohesion with Luka Doncic.

If the Dallas Mavericks can make Luka and DSJ work as a pairing, they’ll be in much better shape than they’d be with anyone they’d get in return for DSJ.

Next. Why Luka Doncic will soon lead the NBA in triple doubles. dark

Dennis Smith Jr is improving in all the areas he needs to in order to thrive alongside Luka Doncic. Trading him now makes zero sense and while the Dallas Mavericks may be listening to offers from the outside, it’s unlikely they’ll entertain any unless they’re completely blown out of the water.

  • Published on 12/28/2018 at 21:00 PM
  • Last updated at 12/28/2018 at 11:44 AM