Dennis Smith Jr., the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was one of the main trade pieces that the New York Knicks acquired in the blockbuster deal that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks. When he first arrived in New York, the initial expectation was that he would be the Knicks’ point guard of the future. Unfortunately, in his second year of wearing a Knicks jersey, Smith has gone through plenty of ups and downs, and it doesn’t seem like he’s part of the team’s long-term plan.
With Smith facing an uncertain future in New York, rumors are currently circulating that the Knicks may consider moving him before the NBA trade deadline. Despite his dismal performance on both ends of the floor this season, where he’s only averaging 5.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists, while shooting 32.9 percent from the field and 28.9 percent from beyond the arc, Marc Berman of the New York Post revealed that Smith has “drawn some interest” on the trade market.
Some of the teams who have reportedly inquired about Smith’s availability via trade include the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic.
“The trade deadline is Thursday, and Smith has drawn some interest, according to sources. The Timberwolves reportedly have interest. One NBA source told The Post that the Magic have inquired.”
It’s not a surprise that the Magic and the Timberwolves have expressed interest in acquiring Smith from the Knicks. Both teams are currently in dire need of a backcourt boost, especially the Timberwolves, who lost starting point guard Jeff Teague in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks last month. Though his second season with the Knicks has been a disappointment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Smith is a lost cause.
When given a starting role and enough playing time, Smith has proven that he can excel on both ends of the floor. As of now, it remains unknown if there is still an ongoing trade negotiation between the Knicks and Smith’s top suitors. Also, Berman didn’t mention what type of trade assets the Knicks would want in return for the young point guard.
However, at this point in his career, Smith would undeniably be better off being traded to another team before the trade deadline than staying in New York where he’s only treated as a spare tire. Though he has shown some promise serving as the Knicks’ temporary starting point guard in their 92-85 victory over the Indiana Pacers, Coach Mike Miller has said that Smith will again come off the bench when Elfrid Payton returns from a one-game suspension.