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Trade talks centered on second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. reportedly aren’t going so well for the Dallas Mavericks, leaving the door open for more opposing teams to make a pitch.
Could the Cleveland Cavaliers be among them?
Perhaps. The Cavs are on the lookout for young talent. The Mavs do love both Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Smith’s salary doesn’t come close to either of those belonging to the aforementioned Cavaliers big men, so it would take some work.
But when it comes to the days between now and the Feb. 7 trade deadline …. where there is a will, there is often a way. And if not a way, then at least a third team to help.
Now, this is speculation at this point. Do the Cavs have interest in Smith Jr., despite the fact they already have a rookie point guard in Collin Sexton?
The answer is absolutely yes.
First of all, Sexton and Smith aren’t necessarily point guards of the old-school variety. They can set up the offense, sure. But they aren’t necessarily huge assist men. They are more “attack” guards than floor leaders in the truest sense.
Besides that, two ball-handlers on the floor at the same time can be better than one. And hey, who is to say Sexton cannot be traded? At this point, the answer is no one.
Anyway, let’s stick to Smith and the Mavericks.
Apparently, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is the one who would like to move on from Smith, with Carlisle supposedly believing Smith just won’t work alongside rookie sensation Luka Doncic. Interestingly, Mavs owner Mark Cuban and general manager Donnie Nelson apparently disagree. Cuban and Nelson are said to be Smith fans and want to keep him.
But imagine a healthy Love next to Doncic for the next four years. Remember, Love is locked in after signing a contract extension. That makes him appealing to teams like the Mavericks. Love, Doncic and DeAndre Jordan would make quite a fearsome threesome.
Right now, it is believed the Mavs have held talks with the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns. They also reportedly have spoken to the Detroit Pistons.
It has not yet been determined who else they may have talked with — or plan to talk with.
All that is seemingly known is neither the Magic nor the Suns have offered anything that has the Mavericks feeling remotely interested in pulling off a Smith trade. Both of those teams are pretty desperate for a point guard, too. So maybe they will pump up the offers at some point.
As for the Mavs, why else would they want to trade Smith and his 12.6 points, 3.9 assists and loads of potential?
Well, the knock against him is that he either refuses to use picks or just doesn’t yet know how. He is also inconsistent when it comes to finishing at the rim, and is no fan of the catch-and-shoot, preferring instead to dribble and drive.
Still, he is fast with the ball and a dynamic athlete who is still learning the pro game. That makes him intriguing for any opponent looking to deal for young talent.
Like several others, the Cavaliers are undoubtedly among that group.
Smith Jr., 21, is 6-foot-3 and was drafted by the Mavs with the No. 9 overall pick in 2017. He averaged 15.2 points and 5.2 assists in 69 games as a rookie last season.