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Knicks' Dennis Smith Jr. on Trade Rumors: 'I Want to Be Here'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 28, 2019

New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. (5) dribbles the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks in New York, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)
Sarah Stier/Associated Press

New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. told Marc Berman of the New York Post on Saturday that he wants to stay in light of recent trade rumors.

"I like playing for the Knicks," Smith said. "So whatever I've got to do, I'm going to take care of that. ...

"I want to be here."

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Friday that Smith "prefers a move from the Knicks" and that "several teams have made inquiries" about a deal.

Per Berman, Smith told reporters after missing a couple of recent games because of coach's decisions that he's "not really a wait-around-type guy."

Smith is averaging 5.2 points on 32.5 percent shooting, 2.7 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 21 games. He's come off the bench (minus one start) en route to playing 16.1 minutes per game.

The North Carolina State product has dealt with injuries and tragedy in 2019. A strained back kept him off the court during portions of training camp and the preseason, and a strained oblique is sidelining him now.

Smith's stepmother died suddenly in late October, and he missed seven games.

Smith fell behind starter Elfrid Payton on the point guard depth chart, and a fresh start elsewhere may be in order. Payton may be the team's top floor general for the near future after averaging 8.3 assists over his last six games (three starts).

Smith, 22, was the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He averaged 14.5 points and 4.9 assists per game for the Dallas Mavericks over one-and-a-half seasons before being traded to the Knicks in a move that sent 7'3" big man Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas.