The Dallas Mavericks are looking to deal point guard Dennis Smith Jr., according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic are said to be pursuing Smith Jr., the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Smith Jr. averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 29.7 minutes per game in 69 contests during his rookie campaign. Smith Jr. looked like a franchise cornerstone for the Mavericks, but he has regressed in his second season. He is turning the ball over 3.1 times per contest, a staggering amount.
With Luka Doncic emerging as the clear-cut favorite for the NBA's Rookie of the Year with Dallas, Smith Jr. is no longer seen as a key piece of the future. Doncic, who often operates as a point-forward, could make the All-Star team in his first season in the league and the Mavericks are set to build their franchise around him. Smith Jr. has been utilized more in an off-the-ball role, something he has struggled adjusting to. His per-game averages have dropped to 12.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
The Suns’ reported interest in Smith Jr. makes plenty of sense. Phoenix needs help in the backcourt to compliment shooting guard Devin Booker, a budding star. De'Anthony Melton, a second-round pick, is currently manning the point guard duties.
The Pistons have 28-year-old Reggie Jackson and 30-year-old Ish Smith point guards on their roster. It’s doubtful they view either player as an integral part of their future. The Pistons are reportedly looking to add a young floor general.
Orlando is in a similar situation as Detroit. It doesn't have its point guard of the future on the roster. The 21-year-old Smith Jr. could certainly fit the bill for the Pistons and Magic.