Part 1 of this mini-series on the Grizzlies being blown up can be found here. Now we shift focus from Mike Conley deals to possible deals for Marc Gasol. As I said in part 1, I do not see a team trading for BOTH Conley/Gasol (without a third team involved) so in my opinion there would have to be separate deals for each. Without further rambling, lets’s get going here. Keep in mind, any team who acquires Gasol runs the risk of him declining his 25 million dollar option for next season.
MIAMI INCLUDES A 2019 FIRST ROUND PICK (HORNETS) AND A 2020 SECOND ROUND PICK
The Heat have a ton of contracts in the 10-20 million dollar range so they’re one of the teams with the cap flexibility to go and get Gasol. With a team that doesn’t have many playmakers and is now insisting on letting Justise Winslow run the point, Gasol could be a nice addition. The Heat have Hassan Whiteside and Bam Adebayo as their centers currently, but Gasol gives them shooting touch, passing, and versatility that coach Spoelstra could get creative with. With a roster of sporadic young players Gasol could provide not only a veteran presence on the court, but a voice off the court and in the locker room.
For Memphis, I think cashing in and getting a couple of picks along with 2 solid rotation players is all they can really ask for if they want too unload a 33 year old Gasol. Along with the players, they get 2 second rounders that could turn into a player or be used for deals in the future.
MEMPHIS INCLUDES A 2019 SECOND ROUND PICK (CHICAGO) IN THE DEAL
This was a tough deal for me as I’ve said that getting value for Gasol at such a steep bill coupled with his age wouldn’t be easy. Portland’s a different situation though as they seem to be in NBA purgatory. Not good enough to really compete, but good enough to get a mid-tier slot in the playoffs and maybe win a round. They basically have no cap space to go out and get anybody on the market so I see this deal as a chance to not only dump salary, but to bring in a proven star in Gasol. With Lillard and McCollum nearing a possible crossroads with the organization, getting Gasol would show them the Blazers are trying to make moves to improve. They also get Dillon Brooks in the deal as a young piece and a high second round pick that they could use. The other caveat here is that if Gasol does opt out, the Blazers basically just cleared Nurkic off the books and can use that money to lure a star.
Jusuf Nurkic is a beast and somebody who is going to continue to develop (career high 15.1 PPG and 10.4 RPG this season). He fits in next to Jaren Jackson Jr. and has the upside to solidify the paint for Memphis long term. While JJJ usually spaces out a bit more, Nurkic will have room to work and knock people around down low. Moe Harkless is in there to match salary and they have a year to see how he may fit in with them long term, maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. Then they also pick up a young shooter in Gary Trent Jr. who they can mold into a rotation player for the future.
SACRAMENTO ALSO INCLUDES A 2020 SECOND ROUND PICK IN THE DEAL
I know what you’re all thinking: “The Return Of Z-Bo to Memphis, WOW”. I’m thinking the same thing but that isn’t why this deal could work for both sides. The Kings have a TON of players and a logjam at literally every position with young talent. Bringing in Gasol could be a smart move to get a veteran in there to show the young kids the ropes while consolidating assets. Their core is full of guys like De’Aarron Fox, Willie Cauley-Stein, Bogdan Bogdanovic, etc. with no real veterans in sight. I’m a huge believer in building a culture of winning and bringing in someone like Gasol would help in that effort immensely. He’s been around forever and I think he could be a piece for the Kings that brings them to the next level in their development. This season has been a step in the right direction but bringing in Gasol would show the young players that they want to win and they want to show them what it takes to win.
Memphis on the other hand brings in the expiring contracts of Randolph and Koufos while taking a flier on a couple of young guys. Justin Jackson has been billed as a big time shooter from his time in college and he’s improved his 3-point percentage to 36.7% this season from 30.8% in his rookie campaign. Harry Giles is the ultimate question mark and his ceiling isn’t easy to project. He’s dealt with injuries and hasn’t played as much as he’d like in his short career. With the trajectory of Sacramento and the win-soon mentality of the franchise, he may be better suited for a longer timeline. Memphis takes a chance and gets both the expiring contracts and young pieces to kickstart their rebuild.
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