Marc Gasol is one of the best players who will be available as an unrestricted free agent this summer, at least technically.
Like most All-Star free agents, the likelihood of Gasol leaving his current situation — especially when considering it’s a winning one — is minimal, at best.
The Grizzlies can offer an extra year of guaranteed salary on a max deal than can any other team, and that alone may be enough for Gasol to re-sign. But when adding in the fact that Memphis is capable of competing with the league’s elite as currently constructed, there would seem to be little incentive for him to attempt to sign anywhere else.
… a little birdie who knows of what he speaks tells me Gasol has already ruled out playing for the New York Knicks. It’s nothing personal with Phil Jackson or that consummate New Yorker, Jim Dolan (gag). It’s a matter of money. He can get a five-year deal to stay in Memphis, where he attended high school. After taxes, that will be worth more than twice what he would get from New York.
The Knicks, of course — just like the Lakers — are a big market team that will try to use that platform as a way to lure players in free agency this summer.
But the top-tier guys, which include players like LaMarcus Aldridge of the Blazers, have little reason to bolt their current situations. As long as a max deal is on the table, the elite guys should remain where they are.
Teams like the Knicks and the Lakers, due to being lottery clubs in such dire circumstances from a win-loss standpoint, are going to need to overpay guys in free agency to jump-start their respective rebuilding process. That means doling out max deals to guys who may not receive them elsewhere; Goran Dragic of the Heat and Draymond Green of the Warriors are just two names that may fit that description.