Is a Smith Jr. trade imminent because of rift with Rick Carlisle?


If you’ve been following the Twitter rounds tonight and saw this tweet, you probably raised your eyebrows:

The tweet was followed later by a story co-written by both ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Woj himself. Included were some pretty intense details that may have caught a lot of #MFFL off-guard.

To note –

… pushing to end a partnership that has run its course for both the franchise and former first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.”

Coach Rick Carlisle and Smith have struggled to find a common ground, league sources said. The arrival of rookie of the year favorite¬†Luka Doncic¬†has pushed Smith off the ball and changed the trajectory of his role with the team. Carlisle has often been frustrated with Smith’s decision-making, league sources said.

Smith has been in the rumor mill for weeks. Dallas, per Marc Stein, was gauging the market for him as far back as a month ago with multiple executives speculating that the Mavericks would eventually part ways with the high-flying guard due to the ascendance of Luka Doncic and Smith’s poor on-the-court fit.

While some argue that it’s too early to make final judgments on the two young budding stars’ fit together (they’ve literally played together for half a season), it’s clear Doncic is the centerpiece of Dallas’ future.

It’s worth noting that Smith Jr. and Doncic have a strong friendship off the court and their significant others are reportedly very close.

The Athletic’s Tim Cato added his input as well:

Per people close to the Mavs this season, and from Mike Fisher’s account (and Dalton Trigg and others with 247 Sports), Dallas’ locker room has been seemingly free of any of the purported friction that today’s reports hint at. Smith has missed the last three games with what Dallas has termed a “sore back.” That being said, it wasn’t two weeks ago that Smith’s sprained wrist was at the center of attention.

If we accept the premise that a trade is imminent, what teams would be in the market for a player of Dennis’ caliber at the PG position? The names tossed around tonight would be Phoenix, Orlando and possibly Detroit.

In a prior edition of “Donuts” earlier this month, Fisher mentioned Andre Drummond as a possible name to watch should the Pistons and Mavs get serious in trade talks about Smith, and Orlando has been looking for a suitable point guard seemingly forever.

As of 10:07 p.m., central time, the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend officially reported that Phoenix was no longer interested in Smith Jr., leaving the likely list of teams at two. The source of that bit of news was John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

Who could Dallas look at for a possible return for DSJ from Orlando? Perhaps Mo Bamba? Per MacMahon, Dallas was once again looking for suitors for Wes Matthews, so there is that to take into consideration. Aaron Gordon is another name to consider.

Of course, as the trade deadline draws nearer, it’s likely that the rumors will increase in both intensity and in number as Feb. 7 draws closer.