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Rick Carlisle reached out to Dennis Smith Jr., ‘would love to have him back’

Dennis Smith Jr. has been the subject of trade rumors, but Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle nevertheless insists the team “would love” to have the second-year point guard back in the fold.

Smith has been absent from the team for most of the week due to an alleged illness, but the timing of his absence, which included not being present at Friday’s practice, does not bode well.

The aforementioned trade rumors that have ramped up in the past week have not helped, either, but sources have indicated the Mavs’ primary objective is to reconcile with Smith.

Carlise echoed that sentiment Friday, saying he has personally reached out to Smith.

“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, via ESPN. “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.”

Smith is said to be frustrated with his role on the team. There are also reports he and Carlisle are not seeing eye to eye, lending to the notion that a trade may be best for both parties. That said, sources say the Mavericks are unwilling to part with Smith, the No. 9 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, without fetching a substantial haul in return.

The 21-year-old guard has missed the Mavs’ last four games, three due to a sore back, before missing Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs after his agent told the team Tuesday his client was ill.

Despite all the drama and uncertainty, Carlisle is publicly stating he hopes Smith returns.

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