As Luka Doncic has emerged as a potential All-Star in his rookie season in Dallas, and the Mavericks have quickly learned they’re at their best when they put the ball in his hands as the primary ball-handler.
That has created a bit of controversy with regards to last year’s first-round draft pick in Dennis Smith Jr., as the young point guard has not fared well sharing the floor with Doncic and his role and future with the team has come into question. Smith has been away from the team for nearly two weeks as he’s battled a sore back and an illness, but there are some, including coach Rick Carlisle, that feel it’s been people on the business side pushing for Smith to sit out until he’s dealt.
The Mavs have insisted things will try to work things out with Smith, likely due to a lack of appetizing trade offers, and it appears Smith is getting the message that a trade won’t happen any time soon. Not long after a report from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon indicated the team expected him back for Tuesday’s home game against the Clippers, the team made the announcement official.
That would mean Smith would have missed six games and there will surely be questions for him about his absence, but for now it seems both parties have recognized the best way for them to have a chance to move on is to have Smith with the team and playing to hopefully boost his trade stock.