NBA Trade Rumors: Mavericks' Dennis Smith Jr. Drawing Interest from Suns, Magic

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 2: Dennis Smith Jr. #1 of the Dallas Mavericks before the game against the Charlotte Hornets on January 2, 2019 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice:  Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
Brock Williams-Smith/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks are "escalating discussions" regarding a trade centered on point guard Dennis Smith Jr., ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday.

According to Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic have both reached out to the Mavs about a possible deal.

However, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 reported the Suns have "no interest" in Smith and that there "is nothing to any report suggesting the Suns have had any conversations with Dallas about him."

The clock started ticking on Smith's Mavericks tenure as soon as the team traded up to acquire the draft rights to Luka Doncic. Smith has been made even more expendable given Doncic's breakout. The Slovenian forward is averaging 20.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

The New York Times' Marc Stein reported in December (h/t ESPN.com's Tim MacMahon) that some NBA front-office executives believed Dallas would eventually trade Smith.

Through 28 games, the 2017 first-round draft pick is averaging 12.6 points and 3.9 assists while shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. However, the Mavs have a minus-5.4 net rating with him on the court compared to a 2.7 rating when he's on the bench, according to NBA.com.

By trading Smith, the Mavericks would be making Doncic their clear lead playmaker and avoiding any potential power struggle down the road. They'd also either add a valuable draft pick or address another area of their roster with whatever they got in return.

The Suns and Magic are so desperate for a young point guard that they might be willing to overpay in order to land Smith. Phoenix is relying on De'Anthony Melton as its starting point, while Orlando is throwing out D.J. Augustin.

In both cases, Smith would be an upgrade.

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