The Dallas Mavericks — after they try to take care of business against the Orlando Magic tonight — will prepare for their first game against the New York Knicks since the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster trade last season.
But Dennis Smith Jr., who has recently missed time with the Knicks due to a death in the family, confirmed to DallasBasketball.com on Wednesday that he won’t be with the Knicks at AAC on Friday night, meaning that his Dallas homecoming will be put on hold for at least another year.
Over the offseason, Smith Jr. - presently in mourning due to the death of his stepmother - joined our Mavs Step Back Podcast to talk about his adjustment to New York, and how he’s eager to play against the team that traded him.
“I’m still friends with everybody on (the Mavs),” said Smith Jr., noting that Luka Doncic still calls him every other week. “But you know I love to compete, so any chance I get to bust that ass, I’m good for it.”
After the trade last season, Smith Jr. averaged 15 points, five assists and three rebounds per game for the Knicks. So far this season, Smith Jr. just hasn’t been himself, having only played 8 minutes per game in three games.
On the other side of the trade, Kristaps Porzingis, despite still working his way all the way back into NBA shape, is fitting in as well as expected in Dallas, averaging 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game and shooting nearly 40 percent from deep.
Although Smith Jr. will miss his Dallas homecoming this weekend, he’ll soon have another chance to play his former team, as the Mavs will be at Madison Square Garden on November 14th in what should be Porzingis’ much-anticipated return to New York. Given the drama that surrounded Porzingis’ exit, that game figures to one that no NBA fan will want to miss.