THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY!!! Right now!!! Lakers Should Target $76 Million Defensive Star in Trade Amid Rival’s Injuries

   

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are committed to bolstering their defensive prowess this season.

Head Coach Darvin Ham made a strategic decision to tweak the starting lineup, featuring LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and three versatile wings – Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and initially Jarred Vanderbilt, who was later replaced by Austin Reaves.

As the season has progressed, Reaves has shown improvement on the court. However, the Lakers believe they can elevate their defensive game to new heights with the addition of Memphis Grizzlies’ defensive standout, Marcus Smart.

Marcus Smart, a 29-year-old guard, earned the title of Defensive Player of the Year in the 2021-22 season and boasts three All-Defensive selections, all earned during his tenure with the Boston Celtics.

Boston traded Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies in a significant three-team trade during the offseason, which also involved the Washington Wizards.

Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, Smart currently averages 14.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 2.7 rebounds per game this season. Despite his defensive prowess, Smart’s three-point shooting has been less consistent, with a 31.3% success rate from beyond the arc this season and a career average of 32.3%.

Nevertheless, his impact on the court is palpable whenever he plays.

Smart’s presence has made a noticeable difference for the Grizzlies. When he is on the floor, their net efficiency differential is at minus-2.7, but it drops significantly to minus-6.7 when he is on the bench.

However, a recent injury to Marcus Smart’s right ring finger will sideline him for approximately six weeks, presenting an obstacle for potential suitors, including the Lakers, as the trade deadline on February 8 approaches. This injury complicates any trade negotiations and could potentially impact Smart’s value.

The Grizzlies had a record of 7-13 with Smart in the lineup, and they have gone 7-10 without him so far, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in their ability to reverse their fortunes despite winning four of their last five games.

The Lakers are taking a patient approach to potential trades, considering they revamped their roster just last season around the trade deadline. Smart’s injury might work in their favor by keeping his trade cost from rising, allowing them more time to assess their current assets.

A proposed trade scenario could see Marcus Smart joining the Lakers:

Lakers receive:

  • Marcus Smart

Grizzlies receive:

  • Gabe Vincent
  • Jalen Hood-Schifino
  • Future first-round pick or pick swap (with details to be determined)

The specifics of the draft pick are not finalized in this scenario, as it’s merely a placeholder. The Lakers have the flexibility to trade one or both of their first-round picks in 2029 and 2031, and they can also include a pick swap option for the 2030 draft.

Unfortunately, the Lakers may need to part with more valuable assets if they are determined to make significant upgrades, as the trade value of D’Angelo Russell, who they re-signed to a two-year, $36 million contract in the offseason, may not meet their expectations.

Gabe Vincent, although currently sidelined with a knee injury similar to Smart’s, could still be an enticing addition to the package, especially considering his performance in last year’s postseason.

Along with the inclusion of a protected pick and Jalen Hood-Schifino, last year’s No. 17 overall draft pick, this trade proposal might be enough to entice Memphis to make a deal with the Lakers.

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