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Trail Blazers Guarantee Dennis Smith Jr.’s Contract

The reserve guard remains a part of Portland’s plans.

Miami Heat v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

Dennis Smith Jr. will remain a part of the 2021-22 Portland Trail Blazers roster as Portland has guaranteed his contract for the remainder of the season. The deadline to ensure NBA contracts is Monday, January 10th, but the waiver process moved it to today, January 7th, by default. The news came in a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Smith is on a single-year, veteran’s minimum deal that will pay him $1.8 million this season. He earned the contract by outplaying other reserve point guards in Portland’s training camp and pre-season games last fall. He’s slotted in behind Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons in the guard rotation, but COVID-related absences have pushed him up the ladder this season, occasionally into the starting lineup.

Smith has started 3 times over 19 appearances, averaging 17.2 minutes per game. He’s scored 5.4 points per game with 3.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds. He’s shooting 39.6% from the floor, 27.3% from three-point range so far this year.