Grizzlies swap Marcus Smart for new franchise center in recent trade proposal

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers
Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

Following their clinching of the ninth overall selection in the 2024 NBA Draft, rumors have been consistently churning about that the Memphis Grizzlies are now interested in trading away their draft rights for a higher value return.

Though a top-10 selection certainly can net a team a promising young prospect, considering the fact that this year's class is being panned as rather weak, once Zach Kleiman and company find themselves on the board there may be slim pickings when it comes to talents who could help aid in their winning desires in 2024-25.

Because of this, many are hoping that Memphis will look to exchange their pick for more of a win-now player, and, in a recently proposed deal by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, one move worth considering may actually be moving up in the pecking order during June's illustrious event.

Recent trade proposal sees Grizzlies trade up for No. 3 selection

Smart, Clingan trade

To Buckley, the exchange between these two familiar trade partners is quite simple: Both are looking to establish themselves as legitimate threats out west next season, though have very different needs.

For the Rockets, they are likely in search of more battle-tested commodities who can help upgrade their level of intensity and aid in improving upon their pedestrian .500 mark in 2023-24. Adding someone like Marcus Smart who already has a familiarity with Ime Udoka's coaching style could be an ideal scenario.

As for the Grizzlies, once fully healthy with guys like Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. in the fold, they'll once again look to thrust themselves into the conversation of the Western Conference's elite teams.

Perhaps one of their only holdups in doing so, however, is their center rotation, which is something they could theoretically address with the third pick, especially if they can land UConn's Donovan Clingan.

"Still, Memphis might see Donovan Clingan as the kind of prospect capable of playing an impact role right now and growing into something even greater down the line. The Grizzlies, remember, have a Steven Adams-sized hole on the interior, and the 7'2", 265-pound Clingan could fill it with a similar blend of physicality and paint protection.

If Memphis views Clingan as a capable starter, that might be a big enough prize to leap up the draft board at the expense of Marcus Smart, who might not be the shooting threat the Grizzlies want playing alongside Ja Morant."

Zach Buckley

On top of Buckley's points, in simplistic terms, the meat of the proposed exchange would be a swap of someone who has been described as a regretful acquisition from last summer in Smart for a player in Clingan who many believe to be an ideal fit out in the 38103.

Add on the fact that the moving Smart (owed about $41 million over next two seasons) would cut down on Memphis' long-term financial situation with the low-cost contracts of Tate (club option on his 2024-25 campaign), Landale (three years left on his $32 million deal), and Clingan's rookie-scale pact and, assuming they're interested in moving up the draft board, the may not be any other moves more beneficial to the ball club than Buckley's latest proposal.