Grizzlies fans have pleaded for the team to find a veteran presence on and off the court for several months. Well, as of late Wednesday night, they finally found one. The Grizzlies acquired guard Marcus Smart from the Boston Celtics. However, the deal involved the Washington Wizards as well. In exchange for Smart, the Grizzlies shipped out backup point guard Tyus Jones, the 25th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, and the 2024 first-round pick (via Golden State) to the Celtics. Boston would also receive Wizards power forward Kristaps Porzingis as a part of the packaged deal.
The initial deal reported earlier in the day fell through between the Celtics, Wizards, and Clippers, but Boston was determined to get the player they highly coveted. The initial package included Malcolm Brogdon being traded to the Clippers along with Danilo Galinari to the Wizards in exchange for the services of Porzingis. As for the Grizzlies, they received one of the better defenders in the league at the guard position. Smart is a former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award winner, named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team three times, and a three-time NBA Hustle Award recipient.
He was also a key contributor in the Celtics advancing to the NBA Finals during the 2021-2022 campaign. His level of tenacity will make the Grizzlies’ defense even better. Smart is also a veteran player that superstar point guard Ja Morant will respect along with the other two core team members, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. Smart can also play a pivotal part in the Grizzlies’ season during the 25-game suspension that Morant must serve due to his latest off-the-court conduct incident.
If you have paid attention to the many reactions on social media, the Grizzlies fan base seems to have mixed feelings about the acquisition of Smart. Some feel that Memphis surrendered too many assets for the former Defensive Player of the Year award winner, while others believe the move was solid. However, it would be best if you thought that Grizzlies were not done making moves. They still must devise a plan to replace the presence of small forward Dillon Brooks. Shortly after the Grizzlies’ first-round playoff exit against the Lakers, it was reported that Memphis would not attempt to re-sign Brooks.
While Smart is one of the league’s best defenders and will improve the Grizzlies in those areas, he does not provide the third option from the wing position the team desperately needs. A choice that is on the table is to insert Zaire Williams into the starting lineup and assume the role that Brooks is leaving behind. However, past performances indicate that Williams is still in the developmental stage of his career. The preferred route that many in Grizzlies circles believe they will address their small forward situation is by utilizing their $12.2 midlevel exception.
The money will not attract top-tier free agents, but it can allow the Grizzlies to add talent that will help them reach the next level. By the time this article is published, Smart may or may not be a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. The move to acquire the former Celtic can be part of an even bigger plot by the Grizzlies’ front office. After back-to-back disappointing finishes to the season, the Grizzlies brass understands the importance of building the proper core of players around a star talent on the level of Ja Morant. The 2023 NBA Draft is on the horizon, and you can expect more moves to be made by the Grizzlies’ front office. It’s not over yet.
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