The Memphis Grizzlies are currently on a massive losing streak and franchise star Marc Gasol appears to be upset with coach David Fizdale.
Gasol, 32, said in August that he is ambitious to play for a great franchise and would have to “revisit things” in Memphis if the team does not keep growing. After these comments, it became worth monitoring his demeanor about the team.
As noted by Ronald Tillery of the USA TODAY Network, however, Gasol is currently unhappy with a recent decision by his coach (via Commercial Appeal):
“Gasol is angry and confused about not playing in the fourth quarter Sunday evening during a home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Memphis suffered its eighth straight defeat with Gasol sitting for the final 12 minutes.”
Back in July, our own Mika Honkasalo included Gasol in his projection for the next stars in line to be traded. After the game against the Nets, expect the trade rumors to spike.
While the 32-year-old big man was reportedly considered “untouchable” when discussed in potential deals during the recent offseason, it’s unclear what kind of return he would receive.
Kevin O’Connor explained why now is such a complicated time for the front office to move Gasol (via The Ringer):
“[He] had major foot surgery in 2016. He’ll be 35 and will cost $25.6M during the final year of his deal in 2019-20. Oh, and he’s unhappy. It’s too late to maximize a return.”
To further complicate things, if the Grizzlies decide to trade him, he would be owed a massive $10.2 million trade kicker. He may decide to waive the fee to make himself a more tradable asset. But that would be a lot of money to decline.
Here are the top options for the 7-foot-1, former NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Chris Mannix speculated that the Celtics could be a leading contender to land him (via Yahoo Sports):
“Would the Grizz move the 32-year-old Gasol for a ready-made rebuilding package of players and picks? Would Boston – which has to be wary of putting together a team that would beat Cleveland but still get pulverized by Golden State – be interested? Again, worth watching.”
The dynamics of the team is impressing so far, even without their injured star Gordon Hayward.
As such, it’d be a fascinating decision for the front office to shake up the roster even more than they already did during the summer. But it seems unlikely the two teams could be a fit to match salaries.
Nathan Chester wrote about why Gasol could be a great option for the Cavaliers (via Beale Street Bears):
“With a team that already has two ball-dominant players in Thomas and LeBron, Marc Gasol would be a better option off the ball. He would also help upgrade a poor Cleveland defense.”
The trade could happen if the Cavs offered Tristan Thompson with either Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye or Cedi Osman. They could also include JR Smith with Thompson if they took on Jarrell Martin or James Ennis.
Of course, Kevin Love (originally drafted by the Grizzlies) and the coveted upcoming first-round pick from the Nets would both likely be brought up in discussions as well.
If they would consider Thompson and the Brooklyn pick for DeAndre Jordan, perhaps the same could be said of Gasol.
Another potential Eastern Conference contender who would be interested in Gasol is the Raptors.
They could offer another viable big man in Jonas Valanciuanas with either Lucas Nogueira or Jakob Poeltl in exchange for the three-time All-Star. If they wanted to trade for Canadian rookie Dillon Brooks as mentioned above, they would have to wait until December 15 and include CJ Miles in the deal.
Miles cannot be traded until that date because he signed as a free agent with the Raptors. Either way, it would be an impressive move for Toronto to land Gasol without moving Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan.
If the Grizzlies move Gasol within the same conference, the Rockets would likely make the most sense for his basketball services.
Daryl Morey, their general manager, has been an aggressive buyer in the trade market. Houston takes more three-point attempts than any other NBA team with 43.8 shots per game. Gasol is a nontraditional big man who would be complemented well by Chris Paul and James Harden.
They don’t have too much to offer, however, that Memphis would like in exchange for a player who could be their best in franchise history. Ryan Anderson would work within the CBA.
So, too, would Eric Gordon if he were packaged with Trevor Ariza. These two players share an agent, which makes it a bit more likely to be packaged together.
Otherwise, do not expect the Rockets to offer valuable young big man Clint Capela.
Portland Trail Blazers
If the Blazers offered Evan Turner, they could include nearly any of the other players on their roster (e.g. Jusuf Nurkic, Meyers Leonard, Al-Farouq Aminu, Noah Vonleh and Zach Collins) for an agreeable deal within the CBA. Turner is not on an appealing contract, but the younger players may be worth exploring.
Brooks, who went to college at the University of Oregon, could be another player that Portland may be interested in acquiring. The franchise did not provide a contract extension to Jusuf Nurkic, though Memphis may instead be interested in the 23-year-old during their rebuilding phase.
Gasol would fit with the Blazers as they shoot well from beyond the arc and do not currently have a franchise big man.
Other Potential Destinations
While the aforementioned teams may have the best options, several others could make a move for Gasol as well.
Franchises that may be suitors (that could include valuable players like Steven Adams, Jabari Parker or Kelly Oubre Jr.) include the Thunder, Bucks, Wizards and Clippers.
Even though many superstars were traded in the offseason, there would still be plenty of interest in a player as versatile as Gasol if he became available.