ClutchPoints' Ben Cooper erroneously claimed that Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell can fill the role former Boston Celtics fan favorite Marcus Smart is filling with the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2023-24 season -- using that as reasoning for why the Grizzlies and Kings should swap the pair, with Sasha Vezenkov, Colby Jones, and a 2026 first-round pick also heading to Memphis.
"While Marcus Smart is a talented player, he is on a sizeable contract," Cooper prefaced before saying, "This trade would give Memphis a young defensive guard in Davion Mitchell, who could thrive with a change of scenery. Mitchell has the potential to fill the Smart role while being on a cheaper contract. Memphis would also receive Sasha Vezenkov and Colby Jones, who could develop into solid NBA players.
"With all of the Grizzlies injuries, they are in a position to allow young players to grow. Mitchell, Vezenkov, and Jones could get significant minutes, while Memphis also receives a first-round pick in 2026. For Sacramento, they flip three players that are out of or in the back end of the rotation and a first-round pick for a highly impactful defensive guard."
Marcus Smart's trade value hasn't tanked this much since Boston Celtics departure
Simply put, saying Smart is replaceable with Mitchell is highly insulting. Mitchell showed promise his rookie season after helping to lead Baylor to a 2021 March Madness victory, but he hasn't yet developed into a starter-level player; let alone someone who can fill the shoes of a former Defensive Player of the Year whose level of play hasn't fallen off in 2023-24, though the level of play from his teammates has.
Smart has not had a productive tenure in Memphis, and the Grizzlies may regret trading for him in the three-team trade that saw them ship off a well-fitting Tyus Jones. But his trade value is far higher than this mock proposal.
Does Smart get traded to a win-now team? Maybe. Could it be the Kings? Maybe. But it'll have to be for more than a few bench players and one first-round pick. The Grizzlies don't have to write off the Ja Morant era just yet. They can afford to see what Smart can do next to him next year before making such a move.