The Memphis Grizzlies continue to struggle in the 2018-19 NBA season and as of now, they are on a five-game losing streak, sitting in the No. 14 spot in the Western Conference with a 19-27 record. While the Grizzlies aren’t expected to make much impact in the deep Western Conference, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that they are planning to make a huge roster shakeup before the February NBA trade deadline with veteran center Marc Gasol as a top trade candidate.
Per Spotrac, Marc Gasol has a player option on his contract that could enable him to become an unrestricted free agent next July. If the Grizzlies won’t get an assurance that he plans to opt in, trading him before the February NBA trade deadline will be their best option rather than losing him in the summer of 2019 as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return.
According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, one of the potential trade partners for the Grizzlies in the deal centered on Marc Gasol is the Miami Heat. In the proposed trade deal, the Grizzlies will be sending Gasol, Omri Casspi, and Chandler Parsons to the Heat for Wayne Ellington, James Johnson, Rodney McGruder, Hassan Whiteside, and a 2022 second-round pick. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
“Johnson and Whiteside are, in theory, at least playable. The Grizzlies can ride out Whiteside’s deal if they were planning to pay Gasol through next season, and Johnson, in addition to being a serviceable playmaking big, will be off the books by the time Jaren Jackson Jr. is sniffing the front end of his prime. Wayne Ellington, who must consent to any trade, and Rodney McGruder enable Memphis to potentially stay afloat in the West. Both bring shooting, while McGruder works his butt off on defense and can run some pick-and-roll. His restricted free agency looms, but he comes with full Bird rights.”
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) January 18, 2019
Instead of losing Marc Gasol for nothing in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Grizzlies will be acquiring players that could help them remain competitive in the Western Conference. Hassan Whiteside could replace Gasol as the Grizzlies’ starting center, while Wayne Ellington and Rodney McGruder would give Memphis two wingmen that could improve their floor spacing and defense. The deal would also enable the Grizzlies to get rid of Chandler Parsons without giving up a future first-round pick.
Meanwhile, the acquisition of Marc Gasol could help the Heat earn a playoff spot in the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference this season. Despite his age, Gasol remains a reliable contributor on both ends of the floor. This season, the 33-year-old center is averaging 15.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals on 43.3 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc.