Tag: Mark Gasol

Marc Gasol Zach Randolph

Zach Randolph wants to play with Marc Gasol in Europe, too

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Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are a great fit together. Penut butter and chocolate. Gasol’s defense and willingness to do the dirty work are the ying to Randolph’s offensive yang. They are Bert and Ernie, Chip and Dale, Starsky and Hutch, Turner and Hooch — a nearly perfect pairing.

So if Randolph is going to play overseas during the lockout, he wants to do it with Gasol.

That’s what he told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

“I’m going to wait and see what’s going on Nov. 1,” Randolph said. “That’s when I’ll make a decision. And then I’m going to see what Marc is doing. I’d like to go wherever he goes. I’d want to talk to him and stick with my big fella.”

If Gasol (Marc or his brother Pau) go overseas to play during the lockout, it likely would be with Barcelona. The European hoops powerhouse is where both of them played as youth before coming over to the NBA. It’s home.

I’ve seen the food in Barcelona, some of the most creative and cutting edge stuff in the world. It’s fantastic. But I’m not sure it’s very Z-Bo friendly. How many tapas bites could Randolph eat in one evening?

Still, it shows you how much Randolph respects and likes playing with Gasol. Which makes it imperative the Grizzlies re-sign Gasol for next season.

EuroBasket underway, continent’s Olympic qualifying event

Spain's basketball players Navarro, Gasol, Calderon and Rubio attend the presentation of their team for the Eurobasket at Madrid's Arena
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In less than a year, the Olympic basketball tournament will be taking place on European soil. Even if there are times the rest of Europe doesn’t really want to claim England.

Starting Wednesday, the Olympic qualifying tournament for Europe got underway – also known as EuroBasket, or the European Championships. In that part of the world a title in this is as big or bigger than an Olympic title, but this time around the top two finishers in this event get an automatic berth in the London Olympics. Finishers three through six go to the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament next summer to fight with teams from around the globe for one of the final spots in the games.

EuroBasket is filled with NBA players and some of the best teams in the world. We’re going to be writing quite a bit about this tournament over the next fortnight, so here is a little primer of the teams to watch (for more in depth stuff, check out The Painted Area, and follow them through the tournament).

Spain: They are the clear favorites and they are loaded with NBA talent: Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez. The guys who don’t play in the NBA are experienced stars on Europe’s biggest stages. So they came out in their opener and sleepwalked to an 83-78 win over Poland — lethargic play in the early rounds by Spain is a sign that it’s a big tournament. They can be their own worst enemy. In that game against Poland, Pau Gasol had 29 points on 12 shots, while Rubio posted a line of 0-0-0. For Spain, anything short of a gold and qualifying for the Olympics is a let down.

After that, things are pretty wide open with a number of teams who could get that second Olympics spot.

France: They have NBA players Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum and Ronny Turiaf. They will be one of the best defensive teams in the tournament and if they can score they will be a threat in any game. But look for the offense to be streaky.

Lithuania: They played well at the World Championships last year and they are the host of this event — home teams do very well in international competitions (see Turkey in the World Championship finals last year). The guy to watch here is Toronto’s recent draft pick (No. 5 overall) Jonas Valanciunas, who looked dominant at the FIBA Under-19 World Championships and looked good against Russia in a recent game. The team is loaded with experienced, good European players such as Darius Songaila.

Germany: They have the best front line in this tournament with Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman. Like the Mavericks, they surround a good front line with a lot of shooters. One key to watch is Group B with Germany, Italy, France and Serbia — four good teams but only three advance out of group play to the knockout round. There is no room for error (Italy should lose out, but they will not go quietly).

Serbia: The player you know is Nenad Krstic (formerly with the Thunder), but what they bring is some of the best teamwork in a tournament often known for good teamwork. They have had the same team playing together for three straight summers. That matters.

Turkey: They boast almost as much NBA talent as Spain with Hedo Turkoglu, Omer Asik, Semih Erden, Ersan Ilyasova, and Enes Kanter (not as high a level of talent as Spain, but this is a good lineup). They played very well at home in Istanbul for the World Championships (losing only to the eventual champion USA) but how will they do away from home? This is not considered a mentally strong team, but if they put it together watch out.

You can stream all the EuroBasket action on ESPN3.

Grizzlies not talking extension with Mike Conley


mike_conley.jpgMemphis has talked about building for the future. Rudy Gay is the anchor for that, with his new max extension this summer. Marc Gasol will be in the middle of that. O.J. Mayo and Hasheem Thabeet are on their rookie deals but could be in Memphis for a long time.

Mike Conley may not be — he and the Grizzlies have not even started talking about an extension to his deal nor are their plans to, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

It looks likely that the Grizzlies will instead extend a qualifying offer to Conley (nearly $6.5 million for next season) and have the right to match any deal he can get from another team. Since it is unlikely that any team would offer anything close to the $6.5 million, it is entirely possible Conley comes back for another season.

But that is not how Conley is looking at it.

“My focus is me coming out with a chip on my shoulder regardless of whether I’m signed or not,” Conley said. “I’m going to play as if I was somebody working to get a contract and help make this a winning team. If we win and I do my job, then I’ll get signed eventually, from whomever.”

Conley has never been terrible, he’s been okay. Nice. He can shoot the three but he is not a great playmaker (especially when Mayo is better in that role, although an experiment with him at the point in Summer League had mixed results) and his defense has never been great. Late in games, it would not be shocking to see the defensive-minded Tony Allen playing the point.

Conley is basically a backup PG starting in Memphis because he is the best they have. But not getting him an extension suggests they have grander plans.