Mavericks reportedly looking to trade PG Smith; Suns not interested
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Dallas Mavericks have increased their efforts in trading point guard Dennis Smith Jr., but according to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro, the Phoenix Suns have no interest.
Wojnarowski notes the Suns have held trade talks with the Mavericks regarding Smith while Gambadoro reports the Suns do not like Smith’s fit stylistically with so many scorers on the roster.
Smith, 21, was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and has struggled to find consistency through one-and-a-half years of play for Dallas. This season, Smith is averaging 12.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.
While possessing some next-level athleticism and skill with the ball, the point guard aspects of Smith’s game were seen as raw coming out of the draft. He has been unable to gel with rookie Luka Doncic, who quickly leaped Smith and Harrison Barnes in the Mavericks’ pecking order as the team’s No. 1 option.
In that same draft, Phoenix selected wing Josh Jackson fourth overall.
The Suns’ need for a point guard has been apparent since the team traded Brandon Knight to the Houston Rockets on Aug. 31. The team did not replace him, starting Isaiah Canaan on opening night. Canaan fell down the rotation and was eventually released while rookies De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo both have started and earned more playing time.
Devin Booker also started as “Point Book” in a few games, but after weeks of switching starting lineups, the Suns have settled on Melton and Booker as a starting backcourt alongside Mikal Bridges, T.J. Warren and Deandre Ayton.
Melton’s play, in particular, has picked up as of late. He is averaging 8.0 assists in his last three games, including a career-high 10 against the Denver Nuggets in a win on Saturday. In 27 games this season, Melton is recording 6.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals per game on 21.3 minutes a night. He has started the team’s last 19 games and is averaging 25.7 minutes per game in January.
Veteran guard Jamal Crawford has also spent some time on the floor serving as the team’s point guard while Okobo has occasionally found minutes between trips to the G League.