Grade the Trade: Grizzlies land star center, first-round pick in no-brainer trade idea

Memphis Grizzlies v New Orleans Pelicans
Memphis Grizzlies v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/GettyImages
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Laying out the trade

As noted by GM Zach Kleiman during his exit interview last month, it is the franchise's belief that "having a more traditional or true big" within their frontcourt holds a serious amount of value when it comes to how this Grizzlies team likes to operate.

During their two-straight Southwest Division-winning seasons (2021-2023), having the old school Steven Adams setting hard screens, defending the rim, and gobbling up boards of both ends of the floor proved to be absolutely vital in aiding toward their high-end successes.

With this in mind, the idea of pursuing someone of a similar ilk could very well be of serious interest for Memphis, and Horrell's proposed blockbuster with the Cleveland Cavaliers sees them net someone of such a skill set in Jarrett Allen.

Jarrett Allen/ Marcus Smart swap

Despite both being in a win-now position, the Grizzlies and Cavaliers are organizations who are in need of completely different things to help inch them closer to an NBA Championship.

For Memphis, as mentioned already, they are in serious need of an upgrade at their starting center position to help compliment their already established cornerstones in Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Cleveland, meanwhile, has the star power needed to make a major splash during the postseason with Donovan Mitchell leading the pack, though, with the potential departure of starting point guard Darius Garland coupled with their lack of veteran leadership, unlocking their full potential may be harder than ever to accomplish in 2024-25.

For the Cavs, Horrell argues this deal would provide them with the aforementioned necessities, stating: "With rumors swirling around a possible Darius Garland trade the Cavaliers could snap Marcus Smart into the starting guard spot alongside Donovan Mitchell to supply facilitation, perimeter defense, and championship pedigree to a team looking to get over the hump."

Without question, Smart is a player who is tailor-made to play within a championship rotation, and his experience of going deep in the NBA Playoffs (has five Conference Finals appearances and an NBA Finals berth under his belt) and serving as a valuable leader could go a long way for any team, including Cleveland.

Assuming President Koby Altman agrees to such an exchange, should the Grizzlies look to finalize the deal?