Grizzlies swap Marcus Smart for 3x All-Star, 2x All-NBA big in wild new trade idea

Jan 24, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins looks on from the
Jan 24, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins looks on from the / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

After this grueling 2023-24 campaign comes to its ultimate conclusion, the Memphis Grizzlies could find themselves making some significant shakeups to their core over the next several months.

If this year's campaign has taught us anything, it's that Taylor Jenkins' squad is a team that still needs a few more pieces to get themselves over the proverbial hump and into the promised land that is the NBA Finals.

Be it in the form of more roster depth or adding another bonafide stud to their foundation, during the coming offseason it's quite likely that GM Zach Kleiman and company will consider every and all options.

If they opt to try and secure a talent that falls into this latter category, there is bound to be a bevy of names this front office could choose from.

However, in a recent piece penned by FanSided's Josh Cornelissen, the Grizzlies were urged to look toward the New York Knicks to execute a blockbuster of such magnitude, as he proposed the idea of swapping out a package headlined by Marcus Smart for the likes of star big man, Julius Randle.

Grizzlies trade idea swaps Marcus Smart for Knicks big Julius Randle

Smart/ Randle trade

For Cornelissen, the "logic" behind such a move is that the Grizzlies could use for some frontcourt bolstering following the slew of moves they made throughout this year's campaign. In his eyes, adding a guy like Randle to the equation and sliding star Jaren Jackson Jr. down to the pivot could be a way to make up for the departures of guys like Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman.

"The Memphis Grizzlies expect to get Ja Morant back next season fully healthy. They will have Desmond Bane alongside him in the backcourt. Wings like Vince Williams Jr. and GG Jackson have developed this season. Yet after trading away Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman Sr. this year they have a significant gap at the center position heading into next season.

One solution to that problem is to lean into playing Jaren Jackson Jr. at center, and his rim protection abilities would free the Grizzlies to add a power forward with an offensive punch. Enter Julius Randle, a multi-time All-Star who can score inside and out and would significantly diversify the Grizzlies' offensive attack."

Josh Cornelissen

While there are many moving pieces attached to this deal, with easily the most noteworthy being the concept of moving on from Marcus Smart after coughing up two first rounders last summer to get him, should the Grizzlies be comfortable with playing Jackson Jr. at the five on a full-time basis this deal could actually be quite beneficial for the ball club.

Already we've seen coach Jenkins regularly slot Trip-J in at center and, despite some early season struggles, as the year has progressed he has actually proven capable of shining in such a role.

With such a shift, adding an inside-out bruiser like Randle into the equation at the four could be a splashy and, frankly, underratedly sound idea.

A three-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection, over the last four years the 29-year-old has stuffed the stat sheet with stellar, highly versitile averages of 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game.

On top of his impressive counting stats, over this stretch, he has served as a driving force in a couple of postseason runs, one of which even saw a second-round excursion that went to six games against the eventual Eastern Conference Champions, the Miami Heat.

Adding his brand of physicality to the frontcourt and underrated rebounding abilities could compliment the more finesse-oriented Jackson while his floor spacing abilities could create a obscene number of pick-and-pop sets and allow Memphis to run a full five-out offensive scheme.

His distribution skills could also help off-set the loss of Smart in this scenario, as Randle's proven to be a capable point forward.

Losing the defensive stalwart after just one injury-plagued season seems a bit premature on the surface, but the Knicks star's intangibles could make such a move worth it in the long-run and, with Vince Williams Jr.'s development as a highly capable two-way wing option and the emergence of Scotty Pippen Jr. as a quality backup floor general -- a trade like this would actually create the roster space necessary to re-sign him --, it could be rather easy to make up for his departed services.

Though this proposed move may not necessarily be a "no-brainer" idea for this title-hungry Grizzlies team, at the very least it's one worth strongly considering.