Trail Blazers To Retain Dennis Smith Jr.

The Trail Blazers are keeping point guard Dennis Smith Jr. as a member of their opening night roster, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.<a rel=

Smith, 23, is 6-foot-1 and was initially selected by the Mavericks with the No. 9 overall pick in 2017. His career has faded somewhat after an outstanding rookie season, as he has since spent time with the Knicks and Pistons.

He appeared in 20 games with Detroit to finish last season, averaging 7.3 points and 3.7 assists. He then became an unrestricted free agent after the season, likely receiving a one-year nonguaranteed deal from Portland.

He will now serve among the backups to the standout backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, joining Anfernee Simons and several others.

“Any time you’re trying to get to something nice, you got to go through the hard things,” Smith told reporters recently. “It’s fine with me. I’m embracing it. There’s no ego. I’m all about my work. And I’m thankful to be here.”

Portland is entering its first season under new head coach Chauncey Billups.

“As soon as I found out I was coming here, the first thing I did was call Chauncey,” Smith said. “He told me immediately on the phone, he said, ‘I’m going to coach you.’ And I expect nothing less.”

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