Marc Gasol and the rest of the NBA’s free agents can’t sign contracts until July 9. But according to a report from ESPN’s Marc Stein, citing “league sources,” Gasol will not meet with other teams, and the Grizzlies have a contingent of team officials in Spain to begin discussions on a new contract with the All-Pro center.
While Gasol has revealed little throughout the process, except to express his affection for Memphis, word has leaked out from New York and Los Angeles indicating the Knicks and Lakers do not have a shot at signing Gasol. Stein also reported that the San Antonio Spurs, long considered the team with the best shot to take Gasol away from the Grizzlies, is now focusing its attention on Portland free agent LaMarcus Aldridge.
The ESPN report made it sound all but a sure thing that Gasol would return to Memphis with the only question being whether he signs a short-term or long-term deal. Many observers have speculated Gasol would sign a two-year contract that would allow him to opt out after next season when the league gets an influx of new TV money and salaries will skyrocket. If Gasol signed a max five-year deal with the Grizzlies now, who under league rules can pay him more than any other team, it would approach $110 million.
Memphis director Craig Brewer this week released a short video, “Marc Gasol of Memphis,” which included minority team owner and entertainer Justin Timberlake, as a way of saying Gasol’s NBA home is the Bluff City.
After the team lost in the second round of the playoffs to Golden State in six games, Gasol told local media: “The ties to the city, to the people of the city, go beyond basketball with me. My whole family has been here since 2001. The place where I used to go watch basketball games is now a Bass Pro Shop. So imagine how many things have happened in almost 15 years.
“So you can understand when I play here, when I step on the hardwood, and how special it is for me. With that said, I cannot tell what’s gonna happen in the future. But I know how special it is for me.
“It won’t be no drama, nothing crazy,” Gasol added. “It’s going to be a well-thought-out decision and something you feel good about and you move forward.”
– Don Wade