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Knicks Trade Rumors: Dennis Smith Jr. Prefers NY Exit; Target of Multiple Teams

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2019

New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)
Sarah Stier/Associated Press

New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. reportedly no longer wants to be in the Big Apple. 

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, teams around the league believe the North Carolina State product "prefers a move from the Knicks." As a result, Charania reported "several teams have made inquiries into" his availability prior to the February trade deadline.

Smith came to New York as part of the trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks, but he has been anything but a young building block with promise this season. He is playing just 16.1 minutes a night and shooting 32.5 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from deep on his way to 5.2 points per game.

It has been a significant dropoff after he averaged 14.7 points in the 21 games he played last season for the Knicks.

It isn't that surprising other teams would be interested in trading for Smith with the hope a change of scenery could help him rediscover his game. He entered the league with high expectations as the No. 9 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft and posted 15.2 points per game as a rookie in Dallas.

Smith has fallen behind guards such as RJ Barrett, Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina in New York's rotation and doesn't appear to be part of its long-term future as the once-proud franchise attempts to become a contender again.

A trade could help the Knicks build that future with draft assets or young playmakers, and Smith would also have the opportunity to establish himself in a new backcourt.