Although he is only in his second year in the league — after getting picked ninth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft — Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. is reportedly on the trading block. As previously noted in a Twitter post from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic, two teams with a need of a point guard, have been in talks with the Mavericks in hopes of acquiring the youngster before the February trade deadline. However, Bleacher Report suggested that a few other teams could serve as ideal destinations for the 21-year-old Smith, including the struggling Memphis Grizzlies.
In its list of potential trade scenarios for Smith, Bleacher Report recommended a trade where the Mavericks could offer a package featuring Smith and veterans Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea to the Grizzlies — and receive the team’s longtime starting point guard, Mike Conley, in return. According to Bleacher Report‘s Sean Highkin, the trade could benefit Dallas, because Conley is a better fit alongside star rookie Luka Doncic, given his ability to shoot from outside and play tough defense. Highkin added that Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle would prefer starting someone like Conley, given his usual aversion to giving playing time to younger guards.
“The question here is whether the Grizzlies are ready to move on from Conley, who has been one of the faces of the most successful period of their franchise’s history,” Bleacher Report added.
“There’s a strong argument to do it now and install Smith as the new point guard to pair with standout rookie big man Jaren Jackson Jr.”
After seeing action in just 12 games last season due to injuries, Mike Conley is currently averaging 20 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 6.3 assists in 42 games for the Memphis Grizzlies. However, the team has also slowed down after a surprisingly strong start — as noted by Bleacher Report — and is now 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference, with a 19-24 win-loss record. According to the publication, the Grizzlies’ hopes of making the playoffs appear to be “on life support” due to their recent struggles.
While Bleacher Report‘s trade suggestion is merely hypothetical at this point, CBS Sports pointed out that the Mavericks might need to find a new home for Smith. The publication observed that he hasn’t excelled at playing off-the-ball, and “hasn’t fared well” playing together with Doncic, with the team being outscored by about five points per 100 possessions when both youngsters are simultaneously on the court.