As 2018-19 NBA season goes deeper, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that the Dallas Mavericks could trade point guard Dennis Smith Jr. before the February NBA trade deadline. Though the Mavericks have already denied the rumors, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that the emergence of Luka Doncic made many league executives believe that Smith will eventually be moved.
On Twitter, Tim MacMahon of ESPN confirmed Stein’s report and added that the Mavericks are “at least gauging the market” for Dennis Smith Jr.
“Marc Stein mentions expectation among execs around league that Dennis Smith Jr. will eventually be moved. Mavs tell Steiny that they aren’t shopping Smith, but that’s semantics. Execs from other teams tell me that Mavs are at least gauging market for their 2017 lotto pick.”
According to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype, one of the NBA teams who is expected to express a strong interest once Dennis Smith Jr. becomes officially available on the trading block is the Phoenix Suns. Whenever a point guard is being mentioned in trade rumors, the Suns always emerge as a potential suitor. Since losing Brandon Knight in a deal with the Houston Rockets, the Suns are left with inexperienced point guards which forced them to use Devin Booker as their primary ball-handler.
— SportsDay Mavs (@dmn_mavericks) December 29, 2018
Dennis Smith Jr. will undeniably be a great addition to the rebuilding Suns. Aside from addressing the major problem in their backcourt, the 21-year-old point guard fits the timeline of the face of the franchise, Devin Booker. This season, Smith Jr. is averaging 13.1 points, 4.0 assists, and 1.3 steals on 44.1 percent shooting from the field and 36.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Like in Dallas, Dennis Smith Jr. will also e having a ball-dominant backcourt partner in Phoenix. However, as Urbina noted, Smith’s fit with Devin Booker may work out better than it has with Luka Doncic. To acquire him from the Mavericks, HoopsHype suggested that the Suns could offer a trade package on Josh Jackson, the No. 4 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
“A deal between the two teams could be centered around Suns forward Josh Jackson, who’s had a disappointing start to his career, but would still present an upgrade, athletically, at least, to Dallas’ wing rotation.”
When they drafted him in 2017, the Suns viewed Josh Jackson as one of the core players of the title-contending team they are trying to build. However, Jackson failed to make much impact for the Suns, and the additions of Mikal Bridges and Kelly Oubre Jr. makes him expendable in Phoenix.