There isn't an NBA reporter busier on trade deadline day than ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The veteran insider has dominated the intel market over the last decade. However, the rush to break news on deadline day can lead to mix-ups, and Brooklyn Nets guard Dennis Smith Jr. was caught in the crossfire on Thursday.
Wojnarowski reported that Smith was traded to the Toronto Raptors alongside Spencer Dinwiddie in a deal for Dennis Schroder, only to correct the mistake minutes later and clarify that Smith was not involved in the deal, as Schroder was the only Dennis being traded. Smith, who has been part of two midseason trades during his NBA career, quickly showed his nerves on Twitter after Wojnarowski's clarification.
— Dennis Smith Jr. (@Dennis1SmithJr) February 8, 2024
The seven-year NBA veteran recounted the experience of briefly thinking he was traded following Brooklyn's 123-103 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.
“I got Woj tweets on, so all of his tweets come to my phone as soon as he tweets them on deadline day,” Smith said. “I see Spencer going there. I'm on FaceTime, and I see my name pop up. I'm like, ‘Hell nah!' I click on it, and it says, ‘Dennis Smith Jr. traded to the Raptors.' I had a knot in my stomach, I was sick!”
“I'm looking at my phone and it says [Nets assistant General Manager] Andy Birdsong. He's calling me as I saw it. And I've been traded before mid-year so I'm like, ‘He's gonna deliver the news.' So I'm looking that thing like, ‘I'm not gonna answer this shit!' Then I press answer and he's like, ‘Nah! Nah! Nah! It's a typo. You good. You staying here. Don't worry.' So I start hitting everyone up and telling them, ‘That's cap! I ain't going nowhere!”
Smith said his phone was “blowing up” after the fake report.
“I ain't even get no pregame nap that day,” he said. “I was sick. I went outside and took a little walk to try to decompress. It was crazy.”
Dennis Smith Jr. reacts to Woj accidentally tweeting that the Nets traded him:
“I got Woj tweets as alerts on my phone… I see my name pop up and I’m like, ‘Hell nah!’… My phones blowing up. I ain’t even get no pregame nap that day. I was sick.”
— Erik Slater (@erikslater_) February 11, 2024
Smith drew laughs from the room full of reporters and strolled off the podium with a smile. He returned to the Nets locker room, where he'll remain for the rest of the season.
The offseason minimum signing has been productive as a sparkplug off the bench this season, averaging 7.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.3 steals in 20.2 minutes per game. Brooklyn's new-look Dennis-Dennis backcourt featuring Schroder and Smith showed promising results in its first appearance Saturday.
Schroder posted 15 points and 12 assists on 6-of-13 shooting, becoming the fourth player in Nets franchise history to record a points-assists double-double during a debut, joining James Harden, Deron Williams, and Kelvin Ransey. Smith posted 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, and a block on 6-of-9 shooting on his way to a plus-18 in 24 minutes.