The Celtics and the Mavericks may be working on a deal that would send Terry Rozier to Dallas and Dennis Smith Jr to Boston. Marc Stein of the NY Times and Tim MacMahon of ESPN both reported this week that the Mavs are gauging the market for Smith Jr.
“Mavs tell [Stein] that they aren’t shopping Smith, but that’s semantics,” MacMahon tweeted. “Execs from other teams tell me that Mavs are at least gauging market for their 2017 lotto pick.”
Rozier has been mentioned in trade rumors this entire season, and there have been rumblings that he has been at the center of chemistry issues surrounding the Celtics.
Rozier clearly believes he’s a starter in the NBA, worthy of playing big-time minutes. That’s not going to happen in Boston, as Kyrie Irving will be running the show for the foreseeable future.
Aside from the talents of Smith Jr and Rozier, where this deal would make the most sense for both clubs is their respective contract situations. Rozier will be a restricted free agent this summer, and the Mavericks wouldn’t mind freeing up some salary cap space to go after bigger names on the free agent market.
The Celtics, meanwhile, can’t conceivably land another prime free agent. But they will surely be looking at grander trade packages and using Smith Jr’s rookie contract, which doesn’t expire until 2021, would help facilitate any blockbuster trade. Danny Ainge trying to sell a 21-year-old lottery pick on another team would be easier than trying to sell a 24-year-old like Rozier, fair or not.
Smith Jr is averaging 13.0 points per game this season after pumping in 15.2 points per game in his rookie year last season.
“The Dallas Mavericks insist they are not shopping second year guard Dennis Smith Jr but it’s a situation rival teams are monitoring,” Stein wrote. “The instant emergence of Dallas rookie Luka Doncic, combined with the longstanding skepticism about Smith’s ability to flourish alongside Doncic in an off the ball capacity has spawned the expectation among many executives that Smith Jr will eventually be moved.
Rozier meanwhile is averaging 8.5 points per game after a 11.3 points per game mark in 2017-18.