Marc Gasol: I’m too old to throw away a season

Tom Pennington/Getty Images
8 Comments

The Grizzlies made clear firing David Fizdale was about trying to salvage the season.

It’s not working.

Memphis, 7-12 when it dropped Fizdale, has gone just 3-12 since. Mike Conley is still injured. Making the playoffs is the longest of longshots.

Should the Grizzlies embrace tanking?

Marc Gasol, whose voice carries weight in Memphis, gave a pointed answer.

Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal:

Ask Gasol about the notion of intentionally losing and it all sounds like gibberish.

“My job is not allowing that to happen,” Gasol said. “My job is not allowing anyone to throw away the season. Because at 32, 33 next month, I don’t have a season to throw away. I don’t have those. I don’t have that luxury. I’m not 23, 24, where I can just say, `Well, next year it’s going to be better.’ I have that sense of urgency and desire to win… I hope that during the next five, six weeks before the break that the situation has completely changed, turned around, and we are a much more consistent team going forward.”

Gasol’s viewpoint is totally reasonable. His time as a star is running out, and he shouldn’t tolerate wasting it.

But I’m not sure what he can do at this point. He’s been trying to win all season, and the Grizzlies have the NBA’s third-worst record.

This is why a trade makes sense. Send Gasol to a team capable of winning now, and allow Memphis to rebuild.

Of course, the Grizzlies have resisted that path.

Maybe they’d be more open to moving veterans like Tyreke Evans, James Ennis and Brandan Wright rather than Gasol, a local icon. But Gasol is preemptively voicing his dissatisfaction with that strategy. He already chafed at Memphis letting Zach Randolph and Tony Allen walk last summer. Gasol wouldn’t like more selling now.

Unless the the Grizzlies make a surprising turnaround, Gasol is headed toward a thrown-away season. Will he quietly accept it? Will his criticism grow louder? Will he get traded?

Gasol’s understandable impatience with losing sets up critical questions in Memphis..