Dennis Smith Jr. should be ready to go for the Mavericks’ Tuesday home game against the Clippers, ESPN reported, citing league sources.
The Dallas point guard has missed the past five games due to a back injury and illness. That’s the official line. However, Smith’s absence coincided with rumors that the team was looking to trade him. Smith has also been open about his desire to leave Dallas, but the team reportedly won’t trade him unless they receive a good deal in return.
Coach Rich Carlilse said “business stuff” has kept Smith away from the team, but he reportedly told the team Sunday that they were to be open and warm to Smith when he returns.
“I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I know one thing: This kid is a team guy, and he loves being with his teammates, and he really respects his teammates,” Carlisle said during his weekly appearance on 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas.
“This is just my feeling, is that he’s being told to stay away for whatever reason. I just don’t want people out there to think he is snubbing the Mavs or anything like that. This is just my opinion, I believe there’s business stuff going on, and he’s being told to stay away.
“Listen, if that’s what they feel is in his best interests, he should trust his advisors. But it’s unlike him not to want to be with his teammates. I do feel strongly that people should not look at Dennis in this situation now and judge him harshly, that he’s doing something against his teammates or the Mavs or anything like that. I just think this is a business type situation, and this is what he’s being advised to do.”
According to recent reports, Smith’s unhappiness stems from his smaller role with the team due to rookie Luka Doncic having a breakout season.
Smith is averaging 12.6 points per game with 3.9 assists and 2.6 rebounds this season.