Grading the three-team Porzingis trade from all angles

Boston Celtics (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

Grade the Trade: How did the Grizzlies do?

Sent Out: Tyus Jones, No. 25 pick in 2023 Draft, 2024 first-round pick (GSW)

Received: Marcus Smart

The Memphis Grizzlies were the surprise addition to this deal, swooping in literally at the midnight hour to help the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards get it over the finish line. Rather than simply become a facilitator for salaries, the Grizzlies made a huge move by sending two first-round picks and their longtime steady point guard for Marcus Smart.

This is, first and foremost, a move that looks past the 25 games suspension for Ja Morant. Rather than look for point guard help they moved on from Jones, trying instead to upgrade their playoff rotation once Morant is back. That’s the right move for the Grizzlies to make; Smart and Kennedy Chandler can fill up those minutes to start the year.

The Grizzlies are making a bet that Smart can meet two different needs, as both a backup point guard and as the starting small forward. He is undersized for a small forward at 6’4″ but has a large wingspan and the strength to size up; the question is whether he’s able to take on the combo forwards of the league. Is he the answer to defending Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and Kevin Durant?

Could the Grizzlies have kept Jones and used those two picks to find another small forward? It’s possible, but the options aren’t immediately obvious. Even so, if they are going to make a big swing for a player like OG Anunoby, they very likely don’t have the scratch anymore by eroding their pick situation.

The idea that Smart can fill two holes is intriguing, but they either need Zhaire Williams to take a step forward or to add another 3-and-D wing in free agency. They also lose the chance to get another cost-controlled player with the No. 25 pick. Tyus Jones is a really solid player and the Grizzlies seem to have both sold low on him and bought high on Marcus Smart.

Grade: B-