The Dallas Mavericks are escalating talks to trade guard Dennis Smith Jr., pushing to end a partnership that has run its course for both the franchise and former first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.
Dallas has also searched for deals that would include veteran Wes Matthews, who is making $18.6 million in the final year of his contract, league sources said.
Dallas has sat Smith for three straight games with what the franchise has termed a sore back, but there’s motivation with the organization and Smith Jr., to find a new home for him, league sources said. Smith was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
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.
While Donic and Smith have built a good personal relationship, the results haven’t been good with them playing together on the floor. Doncic and Smith average only 100.9 points per 100 possessions in 687 minutes this season. Doncic and rookie guard Jalen Brunson average 106.9 in 328 minutes — while Doncic-JJ Barea was 112.6 in 232 minutes.
Smith averaged 15 points and five assists in his rookie season a year ago.