We all knew this day would come.
The day the Memphis Grizzlies trade yet another Gasol brother.
Remember how badly the last Gasol trade was perceived around the league? Gregg Popovich chimed in by saying, “What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension.” Outside of the Memphis market, NBA excutives couldn’t understand why Memphis would trade its star player. Not only did they trade their star player, but they traded him to Los Angeles.
Well, the Grizzlies got back a hidden gem in his brother, Marc Years later, here we are again. Memphis, and a Gasol, walking hand in hand towards a fork in the road. Possibly destined to go their separate ways.
Let’s explore why the Grizzlies should trade their star center, Marc Gasol.
He is a 33 year old center, who has had multiple injuries, including foot surgery in 2016.
A seven footer, who’s had multiple foot injuries, and is 33? His value is automatically diminished because of that alone.
If we go back to last year, most experts believed Marc Gasol was as good as gone before the trade deadline. The “who has the best to offer for Marc Gasol?” articles were being published almost daily. Gasol had a lot to offer, and it is possible that there were teams willing to come off of good assets for him. Imagine if the Grizzlies were able to, in theory, select Jaren Jackson Jr, and, oh I don’t know, Kevin Knox or Miles Bridges. Would having the chance to flip a 33 year old Marc Gasol for JJJ and a young wing with upside be nice in the wake of parting with Marc? Yes, it would.
However, the Grizzlies committed to Gasol long term, even over their brash new coach, David Fizdale.
Speaking of David Fizdale, let’s talk about that whole rift between him and Marc Gasol. Reportedly, Fizdale told Gasol that he wanted a player like LeBron James. Gasol felt as though Fizdales direction wasn’t the best fit for the Memphis Grizzlies. Before last years train wreck of a season, remember when the Grizzlies beat the Cavs, Warriors, and Rockets all in a span of two weeks and we thought they were destined to sing the NBA Finals? After a 5-1 start, the Memphis Grizzlies were #1 in the power rankings.
Those were the days.
Fizdale also unleashed a completely new version of Mike Conley. In his first year under Fizdale, Conley had career highs in a variety of offensive stats and he played 69 games. He also unleashed sharpshooter Marc Gasol. Most people, including me, had no idea Marc Gasol could shoot that well from the three point line. In Fizdale’s first year, Gasol shot almost 39% from three. This was another career high with him attempting at least one three per game. They also took the #2 seed Spurs to six games in the playoffs.
Armed with this information, I ask, why was he fired? I’ll tell you. He was fired in large part because of his broken relationship with Marc Gasol. Mix that with the now infamous benching incident, and something had to give. In the post-game interview, he basically fired Fizdale himself by saying, “If I’m not on the floor, it means I’m not valued.”
There’s that “v” word I’ve been using so frequently.
You can look at that quote several ways. The way I took it was it was a direct message to the front office with him saying it seems as though the coach, and the front office, doesn’t value what I’m worth. For a player like him to make a statement like that, years before he can opt out of his contact? That’s dangerous.
Predictably, the Memphis front office went into panic mode, and fired David Fizdale. This decision resulted in a massive PR blow nationally for the Grizzlies. Even LeBron James chimed in by saying, “People want overnight success right now.” Let me be honest, I liked David Fizdale. If I had to choose between keeping Fizdale or Gasol, I would’ve kept Fizdale. I don’t agree with all the moves he did, like pursuing the signing of Ben McLenore, and push for signing Chandler Parsons.
However, I do think he added a certain swagger to the Grizzlies. Reportedly, Gasol didn’t go to Grizzlies Majority Owner Robert Pera and say it’s either him or me. I don’t buy that. I don’t think we will ever know the truth either. However, he made it very clear that he felt undervalued by both his coach, and this organization.
This year is a critical year in Marc Gasol’s contract. He will make $24 million dollars this year. That’s good for the 32nd highest player in the league, one spot ahead of the infamous Chandler Parsons. (Just for kicks and giggles, did you know that Otto Porter will be the 20th highest paid player in the league for this upcoming season? Whomever is his agent, give him a substantial raise. Now.) Will Marc’s production match his salary for this year? That’s to be determined. In my opinion, most likely not.
It’s not a per say BAD contract, but it’s also not the best. But his salary isn’t why I’m here. Let’s talk about this player option he has after this season. Let’s say Conley gets hurt again...
Knock on wood. Please.
Then let’s say the front office decides to keep Gasol again past the trade deadline. Sure, you don’t think they would, but they had some potentially solid offers last year, and we saw how that turned out. Then let’s say the Grizzlies finish with one of the worst records in the league. Do you really think Gasol will return to a dumpster fire like that? Then you lose a Gasol for nothing. Now granted, though my faith in this front office is non existent, I do think they are smart enough to realize that if this season isn’t going the way it should, trading Gasol is a no brainer, especially if they lose Conley again.
But worse case scenario is they pull a Tyreke Evans situation again, and somehow try to convince us that keeping him is better than trading Gasol for assets. We saw them do it once, what’s stopping them from doing it again?
If I were Chris Wallace, and Chris Wallace were me, I would have traded Gasol last year. Understand, I like Marc Gasol. I think he is a class act. He has been an essential part of making the Grizzlies what they are today. He also saves lives in his spare time...literally.
Frustration, anger, and helplessness. It’s unbelievable how so many vulnerable people are abandoned to their deaths at sea.— Marc Gasol (@MarcGasol) July 17, 2018
Deep admiration for these I call my teammates at this time @openarms_fund pic.twitter.com/TR0KnRsrTE
However, that doesn’t excuse the fact that his trade value is dwindling before our eyes, and we could have a front office that is convinced they need to keep Gasol at all costs. Also, after the feud with him and Fizdale, I think that showed a lack of leadership from his as well. When training camp starts this year, Gasol will be on the roster. However, I think they are just one bad losing streak away from trading away their star big man, and I wouldn’t be mad about it one bit.