Dallas Mavericks

Smith gets his chance as Chandler’s backup

Dallas Mavericks center Greg Smith, left, fights for a shot opportunity against Philadelphia. Smith becomes the Mavericks’ backup center after the trade for Rajon Rondo.
Dallas Mavericks center Greg Smith, left, fights for a shot opportunity against Philadelphia. Smith becomes the Mavericks’ backup center after the trade for Rajon Rondo. AP

DALLAS That really big guy on the Dallas Mavericks’ roster that the casual fan hardly knows will finally get some consistent meaningful minutes.

With Thursday’s announcement that Brandan Wright was included in the trade to Boston to acquire point guard Rajon Rondo, third-string center Greg Smith becomes the primary backup to starting center Tyson Chandler.

Smith has played sparingly in just 14 of the Mavericks’ 27 games, and has averaged 1.2 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.9 minutes per contest. But with Wright now a Celtic, Smith will have an opportunity to use his 6-foot-10, 260-pound frame to help lower Chandler’s minutes.

"Smith is going to be given an opportunity,’’ a league source said. "He’s got to be ready to play.’’

In 27 games with the Mavericks, Wright averaged 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.56 blocks per game. He also led the NBA in field goal shooting (74.8 percent), and was one of the main players on the receiving end of the lob dunks which the Mavericks have become accustomed to utilizing this season.

In his fourth season out of Fresno State, Smith played 89 games the previous three seasons for the Houston Rockets. This past July 14, the Mavericks acquired Smith in a trade for the draft rights to Tadija Dragicevic.

Smith, 23, is under contract through this season for a salary of $948,163.

The Mavericks also acquired Dwight Powell in the trade with Rondo. The 6-11, 240-pount rookie is fairly untested, but has replace Smith as the team’s third-string center.

Mainly a power forward, Powell was the 45th overall pick of last June’s NBA Draft out of Stanford. In five games with the Celtics, Powell averaged 1.8 points and 0.2 rebounds in 1.8 minutes per contest.

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @dwainprice

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