Smith, 21, is 6-foot-10 and was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. But his pro career has been off to a rocky start with the defending Western Conference champions.
He has appeared in just two of five games this season after averaging 2.0 points and 1.4 rebounds in 27 games as a rookie.
As Charania noted, Smith averaged “9.5 points and 8 rebounds in four preseason games after posting 16.25 PPG/12.5 RPG in summer league.” But those numbers have not translated to actual NBA games.
NBA teams have to decide on whether to exercise third- and fourth-year options on eligible players by Monday evening.
Smith’s situation is uncommon.
“It’s rare for teams to decline options (especially third-year options) on rookie scale contracts, since it’s still so early in the player’s career and the price is typically pretty reasonable,” wrote Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors.
That said, the Suns could allow Smith to leave in free agency at the end of the season and sign another player to a minimum deal.
Smith was actually at the center of a few trade rumors during the offseason, but the Suns found no takers.