Rumor: Mavs’ Dennis Smith Jr. refusing to play, ready to move on
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon shared in Thursday’s episode of The Hoop Collective that the Mavs aren’t the ones behind the changing of his status (one that changed from an injury to an illness earlier this week), but it is rather Smith who is choosing to put an end to his career in Dallas and accelerate trade talks.
“He has not been banished from the Mavericks. This is not a case of the Mavericks saying, ‘hey stay home. We’re trying to trade you and we don’t want you to get hurt.’ This is a case of DSJ deciding ‘I’m done here. Let’s get a trade going. I don’t want to play.'”
MacMahon also explained that there is internal conflict within the Mavs’ front office, as “Donnie Nelson doesn’t want to give up on him. But at this point, what are you going to do. He’s refusing to play for you.”
The Mavs are reportedly at odds with having two playmakers in Smith and rookie Luka Doncic, who has quickly taken the mantle of franchise star, having built a strong case to crown himself Rookie of the Year only a year after warranting EuroLeague MVP honors while playing for Real Madrid.
The plan was to groom Smith into the point guard of the future, but those hopes have come to a halt, as the team has favored Doncic due to his maturity — something Smith has clearly seen through the first half of this season.