3 ways the Marcus Smart trade helps the Memphis Grizzlies

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) - Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) - Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Memphis Grizzlies finally made the “all-in” move fans have clamored for the past two seasons. And they still got to keep some of their chips. The Boston Celtics are trading Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for two first-round picks – the Grizzlies’ 2023 selection (No. 25) and the Golden State Warriors 2024 first-round pick. The Grizzlies also dealt Tyus Jones to the Washington Wizards in the three-team trade. The Celtics nabbed Kristaps Porzingis from the Wizards. You can see the full trade details below:

It hurts to lose Tyus Jones. The veteran point guard was such a steady presence for the Grizzlies, particularly in the past two seasons as Ja Morant missed 46 combined games. Jones compiled a 20-6 record as a starter in 2021-22 (including playoffs). He hit the dagger in Game 6 vs. the Timberwolves. He averaged 16.4 points and 8.1 assists as a starter in 2022-23. He finally earns his well-deserved shot to start full-time in Washington.

But the Grizzlies somehow found the one player who can replace both Tyus Jones and Dillon Brooks. Marcus Smart is an elite wing defender and playmaker. While Ja Morant is out with his 25-game suspension, Smart can capably fill in as starting point guard. Once Morant returns, Smart can just as capably slide to the wing.  He brings the toughness and veteran presence Memphis has sorely lacked in the Ja Morant era. The nine-year NBA veteran has reached the conference finals five times – four more than the Grizzlies’ have achieved in franchise history.

Yet the Grizzlies did not have to mortgage the future to get Smart (not the movie). They still own all their own first-round picks from 2024 onward. They did not give away any young players that rebuilding teams might covet. They maintained an open roster spot, which they can hopefully fill with another veteran wing or big using the Mid-Level Exception (MLE) of about $12 million.

This trade is a win for the Memphis Grizzlies. They did not give up much to get a player who fills so many needs. Read on to see how Marcus Smart will help the Memphis Grizzlies.