Blog Entry

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

Posted on: May 16, 2011 1:29 pm
Posted by Royce Young

The Grizzlies had a pretty improbable run to a game within the Western Conference Finals and while many saw them as the NBA's Cinderella, they're actually pretty well set up to do it again.

The team has most of the roster under contract for the next few years and not just that, the Grizzlies will also be getting maybe their best player back in Rudy Gay who missed the entire postseason.

The only major, lingering offseason question for the Grizzlies though is the future of center Marc Gasol. Memphis just locked up his frontcourt buddy Zach Randolph to a multi-year extension, locked up point guard Mike Conley before the season and inked Gay to a big extension last summer. There's a lot of money tied up already in a few players and with the way Gasol played in the postseason, he's going to require a hefty price as well.

Gasol is a restricted free agent this summer and there's already been a lot of chatter about bigger market teams chasing the big man. But Grizzly owner Michael Heisley told that Memphis will eagerly pursue him. The ball basically is in Gasol's court.

"Marc will decide whether he wants to be here. We will aggressively go after him," Heisley said.. "He's a restricted free agent, so we can match whatever's out there. But obviously if Marc wants to leave, I'm going to have a different attitude than if he wants to stay. I hope he wants to stay. And after what we've done in the playoffs, I think he will."

Insert comment about the uncertainty of the CBA here, but whatever the case, the Grizzlies are going to have to figure out a strong plan as to what to do. It's unlikely they'll retain O.J. Mayo who will be a free agent in two years as Memphis simply won't have the space available. What's going to happen is a shuffling of pieces and a restructuring of the core in some ways. General manager Chris Wallace isn't afraid to move on from old pieces (see Hasheem Thabeet) in order to sustain what they have going.

Gasol has actually become maybe the prize of the offseason though as he's a seven footer with a balanced game. He can defend, rebound and carry a team in places. Teams like the Nets and Knicks both will have some money to spend and depending on how they see things turned out with Dwight Howard, they could make a play on Gasol. And at just 26, he still has a lot of time to grow and improve. Keeping him could be a challenge because other teams may simply outbid Memphis and lay a contract on the table they're not comfortable matching. But we'll see.
Category: NBA

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:43 am

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

Oh man, that is a good one. A Spurs fan talking about overachieving. Is that just your response to getting whipped by Memphis? Or is that actually your reasoning. No one overachieved more than the Spurs this year. The furthest thing from a #1 seed in the West in ages. As much as I hate to say it, Dallas, OKC, and Memphis were the class of the conference, whether you like it or not or agree with the seeding. The Spurs and Lakers are old. The Blazers are too inconsistent and injury-riddled. The Hornets with West would have been even better. The Spurs are in the past. You had your good 10 year run, but it's done unless you bring in some new talent and being #29 in the draft isn't going to help that.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 17, 2011 3:59 pm

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

"They can trade OJ Mayo for some decent pieces"?  As in, more than a draft pick?  If they need to drop salary to afford Gasol, they can't trade Mayo for much more than that.  Of course, given his inconsistent shooting from the two guard spot, he's probably looking at a sixth man role regardless, and I don't know how much that's going to fetch.  I just don't see Mayo as worth "pieces".  I think they're lucky to get a decent draft pick for him, and they'd be happy to get that if it means they can afford to re-sign Gasol. 

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 17, 2011 3:55 pm

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

Xavier Henry?  Well, I suppose that's one more body for the Grizzlies' already deep rotation.  As long as he's not in the NBDL he can at least fill Mayo's role.

Gasol has several solid options elsewhere.  If there's any significant difference in the money at all, I assume he'll take one of them.  And based on the Grizzlies' investment in other players, there's a reasonable chance Gasol could be shorting himself $10M over the life of a 5 year contract to stay.  For a guy who hasn't made big money by NBA standards, he might be best off striking while the iron is hot. 

Denver looks really interesting considering Nene can opt for free agency and the two still seem pretty far apart on money. 

You know what would be a kick in the pants?  The Heat are around 20th in payroll this year and even with raises due won't approach the higher payrolls next year, and they have some one-year contracts running out.  I'd be interested to see if they can incorporate a true low-post threat into their game. 

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 17, 2011 12:59 pm

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

Remember the Griz have not just Gay returning, but rookie Xavier Henry. IF Gasol is interested in winning, he'll stay. I suspect he will.  ITs a good situation with a great coach.  The options are to go to New York....and be a cog in the Melo Amari show (and back to Amari) or nets, a terrible organization. Or Cleveland or Utah........and the only place that might be appealing is actually Utah.......but why, when they are two years away.  Denver I suppose, but again, two years away. Memphis is already there if you add Gay and Henry and whatever they get for Mayo.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 17, 2011 12:48 pm

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

He went to middle and high school in Memphis?  He did all that in two years?  Must be a smart guy to get through all that since he moved to the U.S. in 2001 and graduated in 2003. 

Spending two years in a city doesn't mean a whole lot, but keep holding onto that as hope if you'd like.  Someone is going to offer him a fat contract and the Grizzlies management is setting him up to look bad if he goes elsewhere.  They've essentially said, they'll offer him a raise, but aren't going to match at any cost.  That way they can make him look like a mercenary if he leaves.  Teams make statements like that all the time and they're pretty pointless.  I kind of hope they do retain him.  I like good basketball and he and Randolph play well together, something that doesn't always happen with big men (see:  Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum).

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 17, 2011 12:41 pm

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

The Cavs are a big man and a couple of years away?  Just about every team in the league can make that comment.  There's not a lot of reason for optimism in Cleveland.  And if you're looking for Baron Davis to stay healthy that's one helluva hope, considering he's played a full season once in the last 13 years.  Hoping he stays interested is a whole other problem.

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: May 17, 2011 10:22 am

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

"Unless he actually want to get a ring then he will move on. Memphis overachieved this year but not again. "

Disagree, and as a Spurs fan I can see why you're scorned.  The Grizzlies are YOUNG, talented, deep, and play defense.  The Spurs,Lakers, and Mavericks are all old and getting older.  The Spurs window is just about closed, Lakers need to make a couple of moves, and the Mavericks maybe have this year and next to contend and they'll need to retool.  Memphis is in excellent shape for the future.  They can trade OJ Mayo for some decent pieces, if they can re-sign Gasol, and the return of Rudy Gay, they're going to be a force to be reckoned with next year as well.  I like the job they've done putting this team together, and to just blast them as a 1-year-wonder is just silly.  They'll be in the playoffs next year I promise you that, hopefully to take out an old Spurs team.  ; )

Since: Apr 13, 2007
Posted on: May 17, 2011 9:06 am

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

Tomangel = nimrod

Great analysis, slick. 

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: May 17, 2011 8:36 am

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis


Since: Jun 18, 2007
Posted on: May 16, 2011 11:15 pm

Heisley: Up to Gasol if he stays with Memphis

              The Knicks should go after Gasol because they need a starting center and some players with height also. Everything starts with a starting center and then you go after back-up players with height. Gasol can carry a team plus he doesn't foul out of games that much. He would thrive well playing with Amare and Carmelo.

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