The 2019-2020 N.B.A. season kicked-off last week and for Roc Nation Sports and their clients, it was a busy day. The surging sports agency added an additional client to that list. Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. has signed with Roc Nation Sports and will be represented by veteran agent Raymond Brothers. Brothers recently joined Roc Nation Sports and has quickly made significant contributions to the agency, bringing with him both existing and new clients.
Smith Jr. is in his third professional season in the Association, his first full season with the Knicks. Last January, the Mavericks and Knicks made a blockbuster trade that sent Smith Jr. to the Knicks, and the Latvian unicorn, Kristaps Porzingis, to the Mavs. The Knicks weren’t able to hit a home run (Durant) on the created cap space this past summer, but they are evidently confident in the promising Smith Jr. The New York Post reported that the Knicks exercised the fourth year option on Dennis Smith Jr.’s contract. He will make $5.68 million during the 2020-2021 season.
While Smith Jr. has attained some mental ease in the form of a guaranteed contract and signing with a reputable agent, there is still little comfort in his upcoming role with the Knicks. Smith Jr. is competing with fellow 2017 draft class point guard Frank Ntilikina. Ntilikina was drafted by the Knicks eighth overall, one spot ahead of Smith Jr. The North Carolina State product, Smith Jr., has outplayed the Frenchman offensively, but Frank is highly touted for his defensive presence. Just when Knicks fans thought this looked like a two-horse race for the starting ball handler job, General Manager Scott Perry signed point guard Elfrid Payton to deepen the competition. Payton has become a bit of a journeyman and is hoping that this season will be more than a mere bus stop. In the Knicks opening game against the Spurs Wednesday night, Payton played more than double the minutes of his counterparts, and looked far more the reliable player.
With fierce competition, this is a vital year for Smith Jr. He will look to use his elite burst and explosiveness to separate himself. He should be in a good position off the court with representation from Raymond Brothers, who was named the Director of Basketball and Sports Technology/Special Projects at Roc Nation Sports. Brothers is said to be a close friend of Knicks GM Scott Perry, which could help explain the signing of Smith Jr. Brothers, however, has a murky history with one of Smith Jr.’s teammates: Mitchell Robinson.
Robinson signed Brothers to represent him in 2018, as the towering center prepared for the N.B.A Draft. Brothers oversaw Robinson’s pre-draft process, which proved to be a unique one questioned by many. Robinson declined multiple team interview requests and also declined to participate in the draft combine. When Robinson slipped to the 2nd round at pick 36 to the Knicks, he fired Brothers. Robinson thought he could have been a first-round pick with more exposure, and he was probably right. This shouldn’t have a tangible impact on Smith Jr. but is nevertheless an interesting caveat about Brothers’ dealings with one of his teammates.
Regardless of the amount of minutes Dennis Smith Jr. plays at the early onset of the season, the dynamic guard will continue to make fans’ jaws drop and rims hold their figurative breath. DSJ has participated in the last two Slam Dunk Contests and is extremely marketable for his exciting style of play. Basketball is back and Roc Nation got a good one.