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Why Marc Gasol Is Untradeable

David Sherman-Getty Images

Will Marc Gasol be traded? The question really is, is he worth it?

Oh, how the Grizzlies have fallen. Sure they were never considered true title contenders, but the “Grit and Grind” Grizzlies gave the likes of the Thunder, Spurs, Warriors, and Clippers a run in the playoffs for several years. That era however is clearly over as Memphis went from the seventh seed last year to the worst team in league this year.

Grit and Grind” members Zach Randolph and Tony Allen left after last season’s first round exit to the Spurs. Randolph signed with the Kings (not a much better situation), while Allen went to New Orleans where he’s faced numerous injury setbacks. Much like Allen, Mike Conley has dealt with an Achilles problem all season. That leaves Marc Gasol as the only member of the Grizzlies’ “Grit and Grind” era still playing in a Grizzlies jersey. And, quite frankly, he’s stuck.

The 32-year-old Spaniard has started every game for the Grizzlies this year, averaging over 18 points and eight rebounds a game to go along with four assists. Just last year Gasol was an all-star and led the Grizzlies to the playoffs amidst a flurry of injuries. He’s still good — don’t get me wrong — but right now he doesn’t push any contender to an elite level.

For one, Gasol is past his prime and set to make over $25 million in the last year of his contract in 2020 when he turns 35. Gasol’s numbers and what he adds to a team is not worth the money he will cost a team. Even as a one-year rental for a championship contender, it would most likely take a package of players to match Gasol’s salary.

The game now is also about spacing the floor and diverse big men who can guard. Gasol shoots the three at close to 33% this year and is only making about one a game. His true shooting percentage is also below 53%, the second lowest of his career. In addition, he is not the same defender as five years ago when he was named Defensive Player of the Year, with a defensive rating of 98 per 100 possessions. Gasol still has respective defensive statistics this year, with 106 defensive rating and 1.5 blocks per game, but will not be able to keep up with the likes of Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, or James Harden.

Looking at most of the contenders this year, Gasol does little for their chances. In the east, Boston has Al Horford who is similar to Gasol. Toronto has Jonas Valanciunas, who fits the Raptors’ need for a finishing big. Houston has Clint Capela, whose role is complementary to that of James Harden and Chris Paul. Same with Steven Adams in OKC. Minnesota has Karl Anthony Towns, who averages more points and rebounds than Gasol and is obviously younger. No team has a glaring hole that Gasol will fill. 

One popular trading destination people will speculate about is Cleveland. The Cavaliers are struggling right now, and trying integrate IT back into the line-up does not help. If you reason with yourself enough, you could talk yourself into thinking Gasol for Tristan Thompson in some kind of deal will “fix” the Cavs. If you really wanted to, you might be able to talk yourself into a Gasol-to-Washington move that gives the Wizards a legitimate bench scorer.

For the Cavs, there are more problems in the Land than Marc Gasol alone could fix. Adding a star past their prime is the Cavs’ blueprint, but Gasol is not the same player as he was three years ago or even last year. And while the Wizards could always use help on their bench, they would have to give up a key part of their team, such as Otto Porter and maybe a pick to get Gasol. With the numbers Porter is putting up (13.7 points per game, top 10 in three point percentage at 43.6%), he’s not worth giving up for an aging Gasol.

Ultimately Gasol is not worth it for most teams. He costs too much in most trade situations, and what he adds to a team is not putting them over the hump. It sucks to say that Gasol might be stuck in Memphis, and surely there is a team that thinks he may be the answer. But most organizations will see the risks of trading for him. Marc may be stuck until his contract runs out in Memphis, singing the blues the Grizzlies are about to go through.

Edited by Jazmyn Brown.

SQuiz
What team does Marc Gasol's brother, Pau, currently play for?
Created 1/21/18
  1. Los Angeles Lakers
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. San Antonio Spurs
  4. Chicago Bulls

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