Memphis Grizzlies star center Marc Gasol is extremely upset with the direction his team is currently taking. After competing in the playoffs for seven consecutive years, the Grizzlies have tanked, as proven by their 18-45 record. Will Gasol and the Grizzlies part ways in the upcoming offseason?
Before the February 8 trade deadline, Marc Gasol was frequently mentioned in various rumors linking him to title contender teams. The Grizzlies struggled since losing Mike Conley to a season-ending injury, and with their inability to compete in the deep Western Conference, they decided to take a different path, which obviously doesn't look good for their other superstar, Marc Gasol.
The NBA trade deadline has passed with Gasol still in Memphis, but rumors involving him continue to surface. Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders believes it's time for the Grizzlies to move on from the Spanish center. Davies suggested that the Grizzlies should consider trading Gasol this summer.
"Shipping Gasol away would not only rid the Grizzlies of an unhappy superstar, but would also help shed one of their three humungous 20-plus million dollar contracts. When you're attempting to rebuild, and that's what the focus should be on after seeing this year, flexibility is paramount to tinkering a roster."
Once Marc Gasol becomes available on the trade market, several NBA teams will surely express interest in adding him to their team. At 33, Gasol remains as one of the most dominant big men in the league. In 60 games this season, he's averaging 17.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks on 41.6 percent shooting from the field and 33.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Trading Gasol will enable the Grizzlies to acquire assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. Also, getting rid of his contract will help them pursue their target free agents this summer. If they succeed to trade Gasol, Davies also suggested that the Grizzlies should draft Arizona Wildcats center DeAndre Ayton.
Ayton is one of the players who's expected to become a top-3 pick in the upcoming 2018 NBA draft. With his performance this season, there is no doubt that he's the perfect replacement for Marc Gasol. In 31 regular-season games, he averaged 19.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks on 61.6 percent shooting from the field and 34.4 percent from the three-point range.
According to Kyle Bonagura of ESPN, DeAndre Ayton was recently named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. He's the first player to receive both awards since Kevin Love in 2008. If the Grizzlies remain the worst team until the end of the season, they will have a higher chance of obtaining the No. 1 pick, which they could use to draft Ayton.