NBA Rumors: Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle Addresses Rumors Surrounding Dennis Smith Jr

Ronald MartinezGetty Images

Dennis Smith Jr. has shown promising performance in his first season with the Dallas Mavericks, making most people believe that he’s the team’s point guard of the future. Unfortunately, when the Mavericks selected Luka Doncic as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Smith Jr. suddenly became the odd man out in Dallas. With his inability to excel in an off-ball capacity, the Mavericks don’t see Smith Jr. as a foundational piece alongside Doncic.

Weeks before the February NBA trade deadline, Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported that the Mavericks have made Dennis Smith Jr. available on the trading block and named the Phoenix Suns and the Orlando Magic as the top trade destinations for the sophomore point guard. However, as of now, Smith Jr. remains as an official member of the Mavericks.

According to a separate report by Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the Mavericks reportedly want every interested team to know that they won’t trade Dennis Smith Jr. unless they receive good value in return or a “tempting” offer.

After missing five consecutive games, Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle announced that Smith Jr. is set to rejoin the team on Tuesday. Carlisle admitted having a lengthy conversation with the young point guard regarding his role and future with the team.

In the five games he missed, three of them were because of back soreness while the two were cited by the team as an “illness.” However, Coach Rick Carlisle revealed that “basketball stuff” has kept Dennis Smith Jr. away from the team.

“I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I know one thing: This kid is a team guy, and he loves being with his teammates, and he really respects his teammates,” Carlisle said. “This is just my feeling, is that he’s being told to stay away for whatever reason. I just don’t want people out there to think he is snubbing the Mavs or anything like that. This is just my opinion, I believe there’s business stuff going on, and he’s being told to stay away. Listen, if that’s what they feel in his best interests, he should trust his advisors.”

Despite the drama surrounding him, Dennis Smith Jr., and the Mavericks, Coach Rick Carlisle urged their fans to avoid harsh criticisms on the former No. 9 overall pick. Carlisle described the current happenings in Dallas as a business type of situation and added that Smith Jr. is just doing what he’s being advised to do. Carlisle admitted being hard on Smith Jr., but he explained that a player of his caliber deserves to be coached the hardest in order to maximize his full potential.

As of now, it remains unknown if Dennis Smith Jr. will be able to finish the 2018-19 NBA season with the Mavericks. Expect more rumors to circulate as the February NBA trade deadline approaches.