Grade the Trade: Knicks jettison All-Star for hated irritant in bold new pitch

Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks
Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks / Evan Yu/GettyImages
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Laying out a Marcus Smart trade

It would be important for the New York Knicks not to overrate Smart's impact and overpay for the veteran guard. The Grizzlies certainly paid a lofty price for him, sending out proven veteran point guard Tyus Jones and a pair of first-round picks for Smart. His value has almost certainly dipped since then.

Yet Smart is also a proven player who will raise a defense's ceiling, and he can capably defend multiple positions. On offense he has a propoensity for feeling himself and taking ill-advised jumpshots, but sand down that part of his game and you get a savvy passer and cutter on offense to pair with his defensive impact.

What kind of a deal could be built around the former Defensive Player of the Year winner? Let's see what this construction would look like:

Randle Smart trade pitch

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.

The logic is there for the Grizzlies; would the Knicks make this trade?