Last season, the Memphis Grizzlies were forced to make a tough decision when superstar Marc Gasol clashed with David Fizdale. To end the drama surrounding the organization, the Grizzlies decided to fire Fizdale as head coach, proving that the team valued Gasol more than the 44-year-old mentor. However, Gasol’s days in Memphis could be numbered, especially if they suffer another disappointment in the 2018-19 NBA season.
Despite the return of Mike Conley, the Grizzlies are no longer considered a serious threat in the league. The competition in the Western Conference is expected to get tougher now that best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James, is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. In the ESPN Summer Forecast, the Grizzlies are only projected to finish as the No. 12 seed in the Western Conference with a 33-49 record.
If they miss the NBA Playoffs for the second consecutive season, Marc Gasol may consider evaluating his future in Memphis, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN.
“This goes out the window if Gasol’s decline accelerates; in that case, he could not turn down a guaranteed $25.5 million. But Gasol is almost 34. If he can secure something like a three-year, $65 million deal, he might lock it in before the downslope steepens. He could do that in Memphis, of course. But Gasol is running out of time to win big. If he doesn’t see a pathway with the Grizz, he could look elsewhere.”
Marc Gasol has a player option in his contract that enables him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. At 33, no one can deny the fact that Gasol is already on the downside of his NBA career. At this point, Gasol definitely wants to play for an NBA team where he has a chance of winning his first NBA championship title.
As of now, Memphis is no longer an ideal place to stay for the veteran center. His superstar teammate Mike Conley has been dealing with multiple injuries in the past years, and even if he and Gasol remain healthy throughout the season, it remains a big question if they have the capability to compete against Western Conference powerhouse teams like the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors.
Despite his age, Marc Gasol will still be a valuable acquisition to a team who needs a dominant presence at center. In 73 games he played with the Grizzlies last season, Gasol still managed to establish an impressive performance on both ends of the floor, averaging 17.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.4 blocks on 42 percent shooting from the field and 34.1 percent from beyond the arc.