Grizzlies steal 2021 lottery pick, future first-rounder in 'risky' trade idea

Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns
Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Memphis Grizzlies are 15-27 at the mid-way point in 2023-24 which, to many, should be an indicator that the franchise must now look to serve as sellers during this year's trade season so they can start gearing up for future campaigns.

Chock full of talents ranging from established veterans to intriguing youngsters, ahead of the February 8 deadline it should be expected that there will be several rival clubs dialing up GM Zach Kleiman in the hopes of prying one of these assets away, and, recently, Ben Cooper of ClutchPoints suggested the Kings could be a franchise who may come inquiring.

Per the latest rumblings, Sacramento is expected to be rather active ahead of next month's cut-off in hopes of bolstering their roster for a deep and successful playoff run and has already made many of their players available on the trade market.

One of said available players is 2021 lottery-selected combo guard Davion Mitchell, who has fallen out of the team's rotation due to a combination of injuries and uninspiring production.

Regardless of his struggles, the 25-year-old is still viewed as a promising young commodity across the association and, in Cooper's latest proposal, we see him being sent to the 38103 in exchane for veteran, Marcus Smart.

Grizzlies trade proposal swaps Marcus Smart for Davion Mitchell

Smart, Davion Mitchell

Though only just acquired this past summer, the idea of adding Smart to this Grizzlies core was to help inch their way closer to being a legitimate championship contender as soon as this season. Unfortunately, due to a plethora of injuries, the team is likely now playing for the lottery and, in turn, the future, thus making the win-now veteran attached to a $19 million salary the odd-man out in Memphis.

Because of this, Smart has found his name revolving around the trade-rumor mill quite often over the last few weeks, as he's still a brand of player who can aid in winning ways for a team looking to contend in the now.

Cooper feels the hungry Kings could be willing to offer a significant package for his services, and believes his proposal would benefit Memphis considerably.

"While Marcus Smart is a talented player, he is on a sizeable contract. This trade would give Memphis a young defensive guard in Davion Mitchell, who could thrive with a change of scenery. Mitchell has the potential to fill the Smart role while being on a cheaper contract. Memphis would also receive Sasha Vezenkov and Colby Jones, who could develop into solid NBA players.

With all of the Grizzlies injuries, they are in a position to allow young players to grow. Mitchell, Vezenkov, and Jones could get significant minutes, while Memphis also receives a first-round pick in 2026."

Ben Cooper

While the first-round capital may be viewed as the most valuable grab in this deal on the surface, the concept of bringing on Mitchell to virtually serve as a younger and far-less expensive Smart for the Grizzlies moving forward could easily surpass the pick in value.

Ironically coming into the league drawing comparisons to Smart, Mitchell is a high-energy, two-way player who has shown flashes of one day becoming an All-Defensive selection should he receive the proper guidance.

For his career, he boasts averages of 7.6 points, 3.0 assists, 1.6 rebounds, and just over half a steal per game. Though these numbers may not be all-out attention-grabbing, Mitchell's potential comes with his individual intangibles and, more specifically, the things that don't always show up on the stat sheet.

Should the Grizzlies wind up trading Smart at or around this year's deadline, without question this proposal by Cooper may be one of the best value moves they could possible make.