Smith back with Mavericks, starts against Clippers in return

4 years 2 months 3 days ago Tuesday, January 22 2019 Jan 22, 2019 January 22, 2019 7:49 PM January 22, 2019 in Sports - AP - Texas

AP Sports Writer

DALLAS (AP) - Dallas Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith has returned after a week away from the team amid trade rumors, and with the second-year player's role in question because of the emergence of rookie sensation Luka Doncic.

Smith started against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night after missing a two-game road trip. He was also away from the team for what was termed an illness for the Mavericks' previous home game against San Antonio last Wednesday.

Rick Carlisle wouldn't get into reasons for Smith's absence Tuesday. But the coach did acknowledge during his radio show last week that he believed Smith was being told to stay away from the team amid the trade talk.

While Smith was the unquestioned point guard as a rookie last season, injuries and his uncertain role based on Doncic's sudden surge changed things suddenly for the 21-year-old. Like Doncic, he was a 19-year-old drafted in the top 10. Smith went ninth overall in 2017. Doncic was the third overall pick last year.

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