After overcoming the initial surprise of being traded from the Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart embraced a sense of eager anticipation for the next chapter of his basketball career. He expressed his excitement about starting a new journey in a city that perfectly aligns with his gritty playing style – Memphis, the “Grind City.”
Smart, known for his tenacious defense, acknowledged the influence of former Celtics and Grizzlies player Tony Allen, who coined the “Grit ‘n Grind” slogan during Memphis’ successful era. Joining a talented Memphis team in need of veteran leadership, Smart aims to bring his relentless work ethic and defensive mindset to the court.
The Trade :
The Grizzlies acquired Smart in a three-team trade, with Kristaps Porzingis heading to the Celtics and Tyus Jones being sent to the Washington Wizards. This move came shortly after a separate trade involving Malcolm Brogdon fell through, prompting Memphis to seize the opportunity to secure Smart, one of their top trade targets.
As a seasoned player with deep playoff experience, including multiple Eastern Conference finals appearances and an NBA Finals run, Smart brings a wealth of knowledge and intensity to the Grizzlies’ roster. Joining a core featuring young All-Stars Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., as well as recently extended Desmond Bane, Smart becomes an integral part of a promising Memphis team.
Expected Relationship with Morant :
Additional, whilst he humbly avoided labeling himself as a leader in the Grizzlies’ locker room, the organization looks to him to provide guidance and stability, particularly after Morant’s recent suspensions.
Marcus Smart on Ja Morant – Ja is an incredibly talented player who holds a significant role in our team’s success. To achieve anything significant, we heavily rely on Ja’s exceptional skills and his continuous growth. I genuinely enjoy motivating exceptional individuals like Ja to reach their fullest potential.
Marcus Smart on Ja Morant : pic.twitter.com/d4d96FV7p8
— NBArepublic.com (@nba_republic) July 8, 2023
Overall, Smart’s transition to Memphis signifies a fresh start and an opportunity for him to contribute his relentless defensive prowess and veteran presence to a team poised for success in the NBA.