2023-24 has truly been a season to forget for the Memphis Grizzlies.
From key player absences to their current record of 13-23, everything that could have gone wrong for this team has, and now, after finally getting franchise cornerstone Ja Morant back from his 25-game suspension to start the season and, thus, giving fans some sort of hope, it has officially been announced that he'll miss the remainder of the campaign as he undergoes right shoulder surgery.
In light of this unfortunate turn of events, many are speculating that the Grizzlies could now look to punt on these final months of the season and get an early jump on preparations for 2024-25.
Sadly, embarking on such a journey would almost certainly lead to the front office selling off some of their non-long-term talents as they look to re-tool for the future and, should this wind up being the path Memphis chooses to take, Michael Saenz of Sir Charles in Charge believes that Marcus Smart is someone who should be heading outbound.
Grizzlies urged to trade Marcus Smart following Ja Morant's injury news
Citing his rather up-and-down debut season in the 38103, along with the fact that he very well may be the team's biggest trade asset, Saenz argues that moving on from the win-now talents of Smart seems to make sense for both parties now that the Grizzlies, who have gone 7-20 with Morant sidelined this year, will be without their star moving forward.
"During the offseason, in an attempt to offset the loss of Dillon Brooks, the Memphis Grizzlies traded for Marcus Smart. In essence, it seemed like a good deal and an upgrade for Memphis. So far this season, while Smart has had his bright moments, it hasn't exactly worked out that way for both sides. Smart is filling up the stat sheet for the injury-riddled Grizzlies but if Memphis wants to explore a new supporting cast around Ja Morant, they're going to have to find quality players to trade. And Smart may end up being one of them. The Grizzlies aren't likely to trade Desmond Bane or Jaren Jackson Jr. Steven Adams is hurt. That leaves Smart as arguably the one big-name difference-maker that could get the Grizzlies the return that will allow them to make bigger moves during the offseason."- Michael Saenz
Of course, this is by no means the first time the idea of the Grizzlies trading away Smart has been proposed this season. In fact, just hours after the Morant news broke we at BSB even suggested that if the club looks to tank away the remainder of the year such a move should be strongly considered.
As noted, trading Smart is something that could actually be beneficial for both parties, as the veteran is in the prime of his career and is someone who can help virtually any title-hopeful team thanks to his elite defense, steady offensive game, and overall leadership while Memphis could boost their chances of making a future trade by exchanging him for more coveted draft capital.
Despite suffering from a nagging ankle ailment and dealing with the hardships that come with learning a completely new system, the point guard has still managed to put forth a rather impressive campaign and is posting sound averages of 14.0 points, 4.5 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game.
Looking around the league, there are a plethora of teams that could benefit from adding a guy like Smart to their core rotation. The only question is, what could the Grizzlies get back in a trade that involves their defensive stalwart?