New York Knicks trade rumors are floating around, so the NBA season must be underway. The franchise continues to struggle to find a footing in the Eastern Conference — threatening to miss the playoffs again.
The addition of RJ Barrett in the 2019 NBA Draft was supposed to give the team a huge push, but the No. 3 overall selection has struggled. He is shooting just 38.9 percent from the field and 55.2 percent from the line.
In a new piece by Shams Charania from The Athletic, he touches on the topic of the Knicks and their point guard Dennis Smith Jr. Of importance is that Smith appears to have fallen out of favor when it comes to the Knicks’ rotation.
This week's Inside Pass 📒 from NBA Insider @ShamsCharania is jam-packed with notes from around the league as trade season begins to 🔥 up.
👇 Get your Inside Pass updates now👇https://t.co/VMr5D4r67b
— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) December 27, 2019
In his second season with the Knicks, Smith is averaging just 5.2 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.1 rebounds in 16.1 minutes a night. After being acquired from the Dallas Mavericks last season, he averaged 14.7 points, 5.4 assists, and 2.8 rebounds in 28.6 minutes a night. In each season, he has played 21 games for the Knicks.
The Knicks acquired Smith with DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two first-round picks in exchange for Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Kristaps Porziņģis. The Mavs initially selected Smith with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Will Knicks deal Dennis Smith Jr. before NBA trade deadline?
Smith had three-straight DNP’s due to coach decisions earlier in December, and he has been inactive for the last two games for the Knicks as well. In between those missed games, he played four times, scoring just 17 total points in those games while coming off the bench.
Smith reportedly missed the last two games due to a strained left oblique.
So now what?
Shams Charania reported that executives for other teams are in contact with the New York Knicks about Dennis Smith Jr. One mentioned by name was the Minnesota Timberwolves. According to Charania, these executives feel Smith could use a fresh start in a new city.
Here is where things get a bit tricky.
The Knicks made a big deal about acquiring Smith in the Porzingis deal. They can’t just give away Smith at this point, especially with how well Porzinigis is playing for the Mavericks.
It means another team would have to give up a good asset — likely a first-round draft pick — to get the trade talks started.
With Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina on the roster, Smith is expendable. Even though he hasn’t come close to reaching his full potential in the league, maybe a fresh start would do him good.
Or perhaps the Knicks, at 9-24 on the season, need to start Smith every night to see what he might be able to do in a full-time role.
Stay tuned Knicks fans, because the NBA trade deadline comes along in February, and this is a team that likes to make moves.
Could Dennis Smith Jr. be one of several players that the team parts with during the seemingly never-ending effort to rebuild the roster?