With mere days remaining before the NBA’s trade deadline, the Toronto Raptors are reportedly planning to shake things up in hopes of making this year’s NBA Finals with a lineup centered around two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard. While this could have included a deal sending Memphis Grizzlies stars Mike Conley and Marc Gasol to the Raptors, a new report suggests that the Grizzlies weren’t interested in receiving two proven veterans in return.
According to Sports Illustrated, the Grizzlies are still active in trade discussions ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline and hoping to move longtime franchise mainstays Conley and Gasol, who will be making $30.5 million and $24.1 million respectively in the 2018-19 NBA season, per Basketball-Reference. So far, Memphis has reportedly listened to offers from the Utah Jazz, who are putting together a trade package centered on veteran point guard Ricky Rubio and a younger player like Dante Exum or Grayson Allen. The Detroit Pistons have also been involved in talks with the Grizzlies, with their own starting point guard, Reggie Jackson, serving as the centerpiece of their trade offers, Sports Illustrated added.
Aside from the Jazz and the Pistons, the Raptors have also been in trade talks with the Grizzlies in recent days, according to league sources who spoke to Sports Illustrated. These sources noted that the Raptors offered point guard Kyle Lowry and center Jonas Valanciunas for Conley and Gasol, though this deal was apparently rejected by the Grizzlies, who were reportedly more keen on acquiring younger Raptors players like reserve forward OG Anunoby or future draft picks.
In addition, Sports Illustrated‘s sources noted that Lowry “has been made aware” of the Raptors’ plans to shop him around in the days leading up to the trade deadline.
As pointed out by the Sporting News, both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol signed lucrative five-year contracts with the Memphis Grizzlies in the mid-2010s, though Gasol has a player option worth a shade over $25 million, which he could opt out of ahead of the 2019-20 season. The 34-year-old Gasol is currently averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists for Memphis, while Conley, who missed most of the 2017-18 season due to injuries, is putting up 20.3 points and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the three-point line this season.
Despite Gasol and Conley’s strong performances, the Grizzlies are ranked 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference with a 21-33 record.
Meanwhile, things appear to be looking up for the Toronto Raptors, whose 39-16 record puts them at No. 2 in the Eastern Conference and right behind the 39-13 Milwaukee Bucks. While Lowry has stayed healthy this season and averaged 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 9.2 assists, Valanciunas has tallied 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game thus far, albeit while playing in a career-low 18.8 minutes per game, as shown on his Basketball-Reference player page.