REPORT: Memphis Grizzlies And Houston Rockets Are Eyeing Massive Blockbuster Trade Ahead Of The NBA Draft

REPORT: Memphis Grizzlies And Houston Rockets Are Eyeing Massive Blockbuster Trade Ahead Of The NBA Draft

Memphis Grizzlies And Houston Rockets Are Eyeing Massive Blockbuster Trade Ahead Of The NBA Draft

Jalen Green, Ja Morant (Image Source: Getty Images)
The Athletic’s Kelly Iko claims that Ime Udoka, the head coach of the Houston Rockets, and general manager Rafael Stone are “fans” of Memphis Grizzlies guard Marcus Smart. Iko conjectured that the Grizzlies would bundle Smart and the ninth overall pick to trade places with Houston at the third overall choice in the 2024 NBA draft.

It would appear that Smart would pass that test. Over his nine years with the Boston Celtics, the 30-year-old became a leader in the locker room. The Rockets would greatly benefit from that leadership as they want to advance after ending with their best record (41-41) since 2019–20.

Per Kelly Iko of The Athletic, “Both general manager Rafael Stone and head coach Ime Udoka are fans of veteran guard Marcus Smart, league sources said. Is there a possibility Memphis could entice Houston by offering Smart in addition to the No. 9 pick and future assets, to move up and grab Clingan if he isn’t already gone? Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, who has fans within the Rockets organization, could be available if Houston were to move back.”

The Rockets own the third overall selection. They have been linked for months to several well-known players who may be available for trade. Houston has the resources and is prepared to make a big move to sign a star. Meanwhile, they can start their rebuilding process sooner rather than later.

Pairing Udoka alongside defensive mainstay Marcus Smart on draft night is a potential option the Rockets might consider.

Marcus Smart’s Reunion With Former Coach Is Possible via Houston Rockets Trade

As Iko notes, the Memphis Grizzlies have been among the “most vocal” clubs trying to go up to the No. 3 pick. Furthermore, he notes that the Rockets’ opponents, the Charlotte Hornets and Memphis, have been somewhat aggressive in their attempts to switch places. There is a realistic way to close a deal, even if it could depend on whether UConn’s Donovan Clingan remains on the board.

Smart has become a three-time All-Defensive selection and the 2021–22 Defensive Player of the Year. Moreover, he would complement Fred VanVleet well in the backcourt. They already had a good relationship because Udoka led Boston for one season in 2021–2022.

Smart’s first campaign in Memphis was forgettable. Through 20 games, he averaged 14.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.1 steals. However, it was before missing time in mid-January due to a finger injury. For the rest of the year, he did not come back.

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