No longer speculation, the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks had discussions for Dennis Smith Jr., but no proper compensation caused it to fall apart.
The idea of Dennis Smith Jr. on the New York Knicks seemed speculatory, as the Dallas Mavericks briefly had their sophomore guard on the trade block. He was passed on in 2017 for Frank Ntilikina, the No. 8 pick, and the two players set sail on paths forever compared.
Well, truth developed from theory. Per Shams Charania of The Athletic (subscription required), the Knicks were involved in discussions for Smith. However, without proper compensation in Dallas’ view, he was pulled back and returned to the team.
Smith had a smaller on-ball role with the Mavs, after Luka Doncic‘s rise. It seemed as a team-imposed exile from what was announced as a back injury.
Amid the trade talks, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily Newsdoes not represent the first sign of interest, the Knicks wanted to offload Enes Kanter on the Mavericks in a three-team deal. The Chicago Bulls would have sent Jabari Parker to New York, which in the former No. 2 overall pick.
What, if anything, else would go to or from New York was not reported.
The Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers were the other teams involved for Smith.
The Knicks may not have a long-term player at point guard. Ntilikina was once that player, until he struggled as a distributor and shooting the basketball. Issues in 2018-19 have his team future in doubt.
Emmanuel Mudiay rose to the starter above Ntilikina and Trey Burke. While there’s career-high scoring improvement from the fourth-year man, his defense and net rating make his value questionable on a long-term deal. The Knicks can match any offer sheet Mudiay signs as a restricted free agent this summer.
If neither are the answer, which may be the case with these Smith talks, then the Knicks’ point guard for 2019-20 is not on this roster. That can develop via the draft with Ja Morant or free agency.
Smith has about three months to play out his Mavericks tenure, despite two more seasons of team control. The former timespan can allow evaluation as Dallas slips in the Western Conference standings, before making a move around the 2019 NBA Draft or afterward.
Will the Knicks become a suitor, again? Maybe so, there’s still games to play and storylines to develop. Smith would be an interesting acquisition, albeit a flawed one.