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Do you really want to trade Marc Gasol?

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The return might not be great.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In my latest GBB article, I discuss the idea of starting to build the team around Jaren Jackson Jr. this summer, while potentially setting yourself up to avoid the Anthony Davis dilemma.

In that, I say that it’s time to think about building the team around their 19-year old unicorn, not Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Whether that comes by trades, free agency, or simply a reduction of roles, it needs to happen this summer.

Whenever I brought up the idea, you probably thought, trade them both. Even on Grizz Twitter, you hear the words “blow it up.” Some of its members decide that it’s time to trade Marc Gasol.

The idea of trading Marc Gasol is one of the more popular topics in Grizz Twitter, well aside from getting rid of Chandler Parsons. His player option though makes things tricky. Could you really get it to happen though?

Trading him at the deadline will only happen if he demands a trade — which is unlikely. Opting into his player option then trading him wherever he wants to go seems nice. You’d get something in return for him, instead of letting him walk for nothing.

If someone trades for him -- either with the risk of him walking for nothing, or with him opting in -- the team is either desperate to escape mediocrity, or they struck out on an A-list free agent.

Let’s discuss some potential trades.

Don’t get too mad.


Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures -- Trade Deadline Deals

Charlotte receives: Marc Gasol

Memphis receives: 2019 1st round pick (lottery protected), Nic Batum, and Frank Kaminsky

Why Charlotte does it: Kemba Walker is a free agent this summer, and Charlotte is desperate to retain him. They’re even looking to shed salary, probably in hopes of building talent around Kemba. Gasol next to Kemba gives them an outside shot at making a first-round series competitive this season. Unloading Batum and Kaminksy also gives more Miles Bridges more run at the 3 and 4, and allows them to run Kidd-Gilchrist at the 4 or 5 more. With Gasol’s player option, it gives Charlotte the courage to fully embrace a rebuild, if both Gasol and Walker walk in free agency.

Why Memphis does it: Well, they aren’t losing Gasol for nothing. Batum will have two more seasons on his deal, and he’s a wing that’s a solid defender, playmaker, and shooter -- giving the Grizzlies more versatility. Kaminsky is a floor-spacing young big man that gives Jackson more room to operate in the post. That’s not too shabby. Here they also dupe Charlotte into a lottery-protected first-round pick for this season, but that’s probably unlikely.

Charlotte is the only team I see desperate enough to pull off a Gasol trade at the deadline, given their situation with Kemba Walker. Every other playoff team is set at center this season.


Opt-In then Trade

Note: Ignoring salary cap for this, since teams will more than likely use cap space here.

The “Opt-In and Trade” calls are interesting, because it’ll be teams that have cap and struck out with the bigger fish, or teams looking to shed future salary.

Memphis receives: Dwight Powell and Wes Matthews

Dallas receives: Marc Gasol

Why Dallas does it: Dallas always strikes out with big fish in free agent. Gasol would also fit perfectly with Luka Doncic shoutout to former GBBer Matt Hrdlicka for this beautiful realization. Gasol is an unselfish big man that could also space the floor for Luka, which would open up driving lanes for him and Dennis Smith Jr. His expiring contract also gives Dallas another year to use Luka’s development as a recruiting pitch.

Why Memphis does it: Well, you don’t lose Marc Gasol for nothing. Dwight Powell is one of the most underrated big men in basketball, and he could work as a starting big man next to Jackson, or a backup behind Anderson and JJJ. Matthews would be a nice veteran sparkplug off the bench, even though he’s lost a step.

Memphis receives: Danilo Gallinari

Clippers receive: Marc Gasol

Why Los Angeles does it: Let’s explore a hypothetical. The Clippers could have room for 2 max contracts next summer. They sign Kawhi. They strike out on the other A-list free agents and re-sign Tobias Harris. There’s a logjam of combo forwards, and Montrezl Harrell is the only big man on the roster with Gortat and Boban being free agents this summer. A 5 of Gilgeous-Alexander, Lou Williams, Kawhi, Harris, and Gasol would give the Clippers a legitimate threat in the West.

Why Memphis does it: This deal might be the best offer, if Memphis wants to remain competitive. Gallinari is a reliable scorer that could create his own shot, shoot from 3, and go for 25-30 at any night. He has great size, as he can play the 3 or the 4. If they kept Conley next season, a 5 of Conley, Dillon Brooks, Gallinari, Kyle Anderson, and Jackson is competitive. If he or the team stinks, his expiring contract will be easy to move at the deadline.


Other Potential Suitors That Could but Won’t Make a Trade

Washington is a team that could get desperate, since John Wall will be impossible to move, and half of the Eastern Conference wants to tank. However, with Wall’s injury, it’s hard to see them becoming that desperate to make a short-term move for Gasol, unless Bradley Beal keeps being amazing. Any Gasol deal would likely entail taking on Mahinmi and/or Porter’s deal. Even then, if the Grizzlies took both players, they’d need both Temple and Green in the deals to match salaries, which isn’t worth it.

Milwaukee seems like an interesting destination for Gasol, especially given the success they’re experiencing with Brook “Splash Mountain” Lopez. The difference between Gasol and Lopez though is defense, where the former has the edge. Given the free agency of Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Malcolm Brogdon, it’s hard to see Milwaukee being down for it. Ideally, a sign-and-trade for Brogdon would be brilliant, but Milwaukee isn’t dumb.

The Los Angeles Lakers seems like a prominent destination for Gasol, if he opts out this summer. They would probably be the first team to call about a potential trade. If they offer one of either Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, or Josh Hart, you take the deal and hang up the phone before Magic changes his mind, but I don’t think that’s possible. No Laker trade would really work salary-wise this season, and quite frankly they have zero incentive to do an “opt-in then trade” with Memphis either. The ideal time for the Grizzlies and Lakers to pull a Gasol deal off would’ve been this past summer, where Memphis could’ve absorbed Luol Deng’s contract to acquire Julius Randle in a sign-and-trade.


NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

None of these deals aren’t eye-popping to be honest. However, it’s the nature of the beast. Gasol is an aging center whose game and value are depreciating in this faster NBA. If the Grizzlies didn’t want to lose him for nothing, I’d call Milwaukee or the Clippers first, followed by a desperate Charlotte team.

You say you want to trade Marc Gasol, but here’s some tea. His trade value isn’t as high as you think. For starters, Gasol will be 34 this month. You won’t get a good-to-great package for him, even if he’s an All-Star big man. Maybe you could catch someone being desperate, but it’s highly unlikely.

So let’s go back to the initial question — the headline that led you to click on this article. Do you really want to go for a Marc Gasol trade?

I’m a firm believer in taking phone calls. Quite frankly, the front office should do its due diligence and listen for offers about any player aside from Jaren Jackson Jr.

On the other hand, people won’t be happy with any return in a Gasol deal. His value is declining, as the league continues to evolve. Yes, he’s made himself useful with a Fizdale-encouraged 3-point jumper, steady rim protection, and superior playmaking. However, he still struggles with perimeter and pick-and-roll defense -- where most offenses attack. His age doesn’t help matters either.

Trading Marc won’t get you another first-round pick, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, another All-Star, or Jaylen Brown. I don’t know if you could get more than an older rotation player and a “B-” prospect.

It’s no disrespect towards Marc Gasol at all. Teams are becoming more stingy when trading assets, as you could see with past All-Star trades. At this point, if the Grizzlies do try to trade Gasol, they have to find a team desperate to escape mediocrity, or one that missed out on an A-list free agent.

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