This offseason has taken a turn for the Dallas Mavericks, as Jalen Brunson, who was the team's top priority this summer, has reportedly decided to join the New York Knicks when free agency opens on Thursday at 5:00 p.m. central time. Dallas will now have to pivot to other options to fill the void that will be left behind by Brunson's departure.
There are rumors stating the Mavs will focus more on adding another serviceable wing player instead of trying to replace exactly what Brunson brought to the table, but secondary ball-handling is something that will need to be addressed in one form or another at some point.
Goran Dragic, who is essentially Luka Doncic's Slovenian big brother and has been linked to Dallas numerous times over the last few years, has already been mentioned as a serious option in free agency with the Brunson news dropping.
If for whatever reason that doesn't work out, though, or if the Mavs want some extra bench guard insurance on top of potentially signing Dragic, one secondary playmaker option who would love an opportunity with the Mavs is former point guard Dennis Smith Jr.
"They need [more] athleticism, someone who can get to the rim and play in transition," Smith tells DallasBasketball.com. "It's no question about what I'll bring on the defensive side."
Smith has struggled to get his career rolling again after being traded from the Mavs in the Kristaps Porzingis deal in 2019, mainly due to some unfortunate injuries. However, he showed some nice flashes last season after earning a contract from the Portland Trail Blazers.
Smith only averaged 5.6 points and 3.6 assists in 37 games played for Portland, but in four games as a starter when Damian Lillard went down with an abdominal injury, Smith averaged 15.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists while shooting 54.3 percent from the field. Those performances came against the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.
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Not only did Smith's best seasons happen while he was in Dallas for the first two years of his career, but he made friendships with Doncic and Dorian Finney-Smith that remain strong to this day.
Things have to fall just right for Smith to get a second chance in Dallas, but that's a goal he'll keep striving for regardless. At the very least, perhaps Smith can get a training camp invite this time around like he did with Portland last year. That way, he'll have an opportunity to show what he still has in the tank.
"I'm with it," says Smith about the prospect of a Dallas reunion. "You know that."
You can follow Dalton Trigg on Twitter at @dalton_trigg
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