Could the Knicks add a former defensive player of the year to their roster before the trade deadline?

Marcus Smart, Knicks
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks may have a chance to land former 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart before the Feb. 8 trade deadline. Forbes’ Morten Stig Jensen threw Smart’s name into the pot of players the Knicks should trade for, citing his two-way prowess as a major calling card for the Knicks to flock to:

“Smart would fit like a hand-in-glove in head coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive-oriented system, which in theory could see the Knicks level up even more than they already have since acquiring Anunoby,” Jensen said. “It’s, of course, a fairly large financial commitment for the Knicks, but one they can justify.”

Knicks: Marcus Smart is playing the best offensive basketball of his career

Smart’s style of play would allow him to thrive in the Knicks’ offense. The Memphis Grizzlies point guard is not the most efficient scorer but is liable for frequent big-scoring games. His ability to shoot in traffic from outside borders on remarkable when he’s hot.

In the midst of a career year, Smart is averaging 14.5 points and 2.1 steals on 43 percent shooting from the field, all of which are personal bests.

Would it be Smart for the Knicks to take on Smart’s large contract by the deadline?

Smart signed a four-year, $76.4 million contract in 2022 when he was a member of the Boston Celtics. He is currently earning $18.58 million in the second year of that deal. For the Knicks to make a deal work, they’d need to move more than one large contract on their books.

Should they want to form a defensive juggernaut with Smart alongside OG Anunoby and the Knicks’ star duo of Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, Josh Hart and Mitchell Robinson would be the most attractive pieces for the franchise to offer up.

The Grizzlies have floated Smart’s name on the trade block already this season as ClutchPoints cited, so the two-way guard is not untouchable for the Knicks to pursue.

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