Knicks Trade Proposal Lands Marcus Smart From Grizzlies

Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA Trade Rumors
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

When Tom Thibodeau coaches an NBA team, he brings an identity. That team is going to defend. A Thibodeau-led squad isn’t going to give anyone a night off. 

Currently, he leads the New York Knicks. The Knicks’ defense has been solid. Still, when a team loses a key player, sometimes, no amount of coaching can make up for the loss. So when the Knicks lost Mitchell Robinson, they were expected to slip. 

Luckily, Isaiah Hartenstein has made up a lot of the difference. Now, it looks like Robinson could be expendable to the Knicks. Could they flip him for Marcus Smart of the Memphis Grizzlies this summer? 

NBA Trade Proposal 

Memphis Grizzlies Receive: C Mitchell Robinson 

New York Knicks Receive: G Marcus Smart, 2025 First-Round Pick (Top 10 Protected – NYK) 

Thibodeau has a longstanding reputation as an elite defensive coach. With that said, defense has changed a lot in the NBA during his time in the league. During his time with the Chicago Bulls, Thibodeau was known for packing the paint. 

Is that still an effective strategy? It can be. Dunks and layups remain the best shots in basketball. Protecting the rim is paramount. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks Updates

At the same time, it’s a three-point heavy league. Versatile perimeter defenders like Smart can be more impactful. Should the Grizzlies let him go? 

Why The Memphis Grizzlies Do The Deal 

As it stands, the Grizzlies don’t figure to have a conventional big man on their roster next year. This could be a problem. Jaren Jackson Jr. is an elite rim protector, but he’s more effective from the weak side. Having sent Steven Adams to the Houston Rockets, the Grizzlies don’t have a bruiser to handle the more physical aspects of the game. 

Robinson can do that. Realistically, he’s a better rim protector than Adams. With him in drop coverage and Jackson Jr. roaming, the Grizzlies could be one of the best point-preventing teams in the league. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks Updates

Meanwhile, they can spare the backcourt depth. A healthy Grizzlies team features Ja Morant and Desmond Bane. Adding a quality big at the expense of a guard would be sensible asset management. Does acquiring Smart make sense for the Knicks? 

Why The New York Knicks Do The Deal 

We’ll use similar logic for the Knicks. Hartenstein is a starting caliber big. So is Robinson. Why not flip one for some backcourt help? 

After all, the Knicks are missing Immanuel Quickley after trading him earlier in the year. Smart isn’t a perfect replica, but he’s similarly impactful. If he’s a bit less dynamic than Quickley on offense, he’s a much better defender (even if Quickley is solid). 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Marcus Smart, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks Updates

Granted, Hartenstein is a free agent. If the Knicks can’t retain him, this whole idea is a moot point. On the other hand, if they can, they might want to look into Smart – we all know their coach would love to have him. 

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