Mavs would love to have Dennis Smith Jr. back, Rick Carlisle says

Asserting that the Mavericks would “love to have him back,” coach Rick Carlisle said Friday he has tried to reach out to point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

“Dennis Smith is not here, but I want to let everybody know I reached out to him and his agent last night and let them know that when he’s feeling better, he’s welcome to rejoin the team at any time,” Carlisle said Friday ( via ). “We would love to have him back.

“In his year and a half here, he has started every game that he has been available to play. And during that period in time, he has experienced significant growth on both sides of the ball. I’m very proud of the progress that he’s made. That’s where we are.”

Smith has missed the team’s last four games, three because of a sore back and another Wednesday after his agent called in for him to say he was sick. Smith isn’t expected to make the team’s upcoming two-game trip to Indianapolis and Milwaukee.

The Mavericks are “optimistic” they can reconcile and move forward with Smith, ESPN reported, citing unidentified sources, though Smith recently said he hopes to be traded, in part because rookie teen Luka Doncic has become the focal point of the Mavs offense.

Smith, 21, was a 2017 lottery pick. If the Mavs were to trade him, they would expect good value in return.

He is averaging 12.6 points, 3.9 assists and 2.6 rebounds this year, down from his averages a season ago (15.2 ppg, 5.2 apg and 3.8 rpg). 

And while Doncic, 19, has put himself squarely in the Rookie of the Year conversation by averaging 20.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists this season, ESPN notes the Mavs offense has sputtered with the two on the floor together: averaging 100.9 points per 100 possessions (in 687 minutes), only a 10th of a point better than the Bulls’ league-worst offensive efficiency. Overall, the Mavs average 108.4 points per 100 possessions.