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RUMOR: Timberwolves, Magic interested in Knicks’ Dennis Smith Jr.


New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. used to be regarded as one of the potential steals of the 2017 NBA Draft. However, three years later, things have turned out way different from what was expected of him.

Smith — who was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the ninth overall pick — made the All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. However, the former North Carolina State star has essentially been buried since he was traded to the Knicks last February.

Smith is averaging just 5.2 points while playing less than 16 minutes per game through his first 25 appearances this season, and he has ceded most of his playing time to guys like Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton.

Still, there are some teams showing interest in Smith with the trade deadline approaching.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic are among the teams that could make a push for Smith in the coming days.

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.

The Timberwolves are lacking in backcourt depth after they traded point guard Jeff Teague to the Atlanta Hawks. Shabazz Napier has moved into the starting role, but he lacks the same kind of scoring potential as Smith. Moreover, rookie guard Jordan McLaughlin is on a two-way contract, so he has a limited number of days with the team.

Orlando’s interest is slightly more puzzling. Markelle Fultz has settled into his role as the starter, and D.J. Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams present different looks at the point guard spot.

In any case, one of these two teams might gamble on Dennis Smith Jr. and acquire him from the Knicks, especially amid news that he wants to relocate.