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Carlisle reaches out to Smith, wants him back

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle on Friday said he has tried to reach out to point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and would “love to have him back.”

Sources told ESPN on Thursday that the Mavericks are optimistic that they can reconcile and move forward with Smith Jr., who has recently expressed that he hopes to be traded. Sources said Smith is frustrated with his role and has had friction with Carlisle since Rookie of the Year front-runner Luka Doncic has seized the reins of the offense.

“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. “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.”

Carlisle said he doesn’t expect Smith to be on the Mavericks’ trip to Indiana and Milwaukee.

Added Carlisle: “I just think that he’s part of this team and we’d love to have him back.”

Sources told ESPN that the Mavericks are insistent they won’t trade the 21-year-old Smith, a 2017 lottery pick, unless they get good value in return. They have shopped Smith throughout the season, sources said, but haven’t received any offers that have tempted them to pull the trigger.

Smith has not played in the last four games under suspicious circumstances, sitting out three games due to what the team announced as back soreness and having his agent call in sick for him before he missed Tuesday’s practice and Wednesday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

The Mavs’ offense has sputtered with Smith and Doncic on the floor together, scoring only 100.9 points per 100 possessions in 687 minutes, which is only one-tenth of a point better than the Chicago Bulls‘ league-worst offensive efficiency. The Mavs average 108.4 points per 100 possessions overall.

Smith is averaging 12.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, down from 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game during his second-team All-Rookie campaign.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.

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