Dennis Smith Jr. confirms bombshell report of Rick Carlisle, Mavs' dysfunction

By , Audacy Sports

Dennis Smith Jr.'s time in Dallas was short-lived. The No. 9 overall pick in 2017, Smith was immediately productive as a rookie, averaging 15.2 points and 5.2 assists per game while earning second-team All-Rookie honors. And though the Mavericks weren't even close to being a successful team that season, finishing with a 24-58 record, it seems as though they might have drafted a foundational piece to an emerging franchise.

That feeling increased when Luka Doncic was added to the team through next season's draft, and the Doncic-Smith back court was one with impressive potential for years to come... and how long did that last? About three months, before Smith was shipped to the New York Knicks in a blockbuster deal that brought Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas. And according to a new bombshell story from ESPN's Tim MacMahon, head coach Rick Carlisle very well may have been behind all the dysfunction that arose during that tumultuous time.

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According to MacMahon, Doncic and Smith's budding relationship on the court and friendship off the court was destined to fail, as "Carlisle and the front office were planning to blow it up... never really believing the duo had staying power." At one point, it got so bad that Carlisle openly accused Smith of jealousy toward Doncic during a team meeting, which teammates considered "incredibly unfair" toward Smith. More angry than anyone may have been Doncic himself, who "particularly resented what he perceived as Carlisle's attempt to pit him against his friend and teammate," according to MacMahon.

"It wasn't really about how Rick treated Luka," an anonymous Maverick from the 2018-19 team told MacMahon. "Luka hated how Rick treated other people."

A number of other anecdotes were shared about incidents that distanced Doncic from his coach, as detailed in MacMahon's story, until the relationship between the two was "too far gone" for the possibility of fixing the damage. That ultimately led to Mark Cuban shooting down any possibility of a contract extension, and Carlisle resigned soon after.

Following the release of MacMahon's story, Smith confirmed the details of the story but hinted that there's more to the whole ordeal.

Smith had trouble finding his footing after Dallas, finding some initial production in New York but failing to keep it up in year two of that stint. He's since played for the Pistons and the Blazers, his current team. Though he has a solid role, he's not doing quite what you'd expect from a former No. 9 pick who had experienced such success right out of the gate and only a few years ago.

Carlisle is now the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, who may be going through a blowup of their own. A team that might just benefit from that? You guessed it.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: (Kevin Jairaj/USA Today)