Report: Dennis Smith Jr. doesn’t report to practice facility, but Mavs willing to be patient with him
Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has been making headlines lately. Through back and forth reports that the Mavs have interest in finding a trade for Smith, his time with the team appears it could be coming to an end in only his second year in the league. The latest news comes from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, who reports that Smith was not present at the Mavs practice facility Friday morning:
Dennis Smith Jr. did not report to the facility for practice this morning, per a source. Not unexpected. Mavs are willing to be patient in an effort to fix the situation, at least temporarily. https://t.co/IEVlLLN1KB
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 18, 2019
After ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted earlier this week that the Mavs were “escalating discussions” in seeking a deal for the ninth pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Dallas has begun to backpedal a little. MacMahon reported Thursday that a source close with the team explained that “plan A is still to fix this,” as the Mavs are hopeful regarding the possibility of reconciling the situation. Smith has yet to request a trade, but remains open to the possibility of being moved, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.
The Mavs’ initial interest in parting ways with Smith after just a season and a half was rooted heavily in the emergence of rookie Luka Doncic and their on-court fit together. Doncic is having a phenomenal season, averaging 20.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.1 steals. He is leading the team in scoring and looking like he could run away with the Rookie of the Year award.
Smith is seeing a decline in numbers, however, as a result of Doncic taking over as lead man of the team. Playing two less minutes and sporting a usage rate down 6.1 percentage points from last season, Smith is putting up 12.6 points, 3.9 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. He hasn’t taken any major leaps in his development, though he is shooting more efficiently from deep and overall.
Having missed time with the team lately for various listed reasons, his absence at the practice facility wasn’t a shock, but it isn’t the most optimistic of signs that Dennis Smith Jr. and Dallas are on the road to some type of resolution.