“This is the NBA, not the D-League.”
That’s Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, and he’s upset and frustrated. Understandably. The former All-NBA player and Defensive Player of the Year is on a Grizzlies team that has lost 13 in a row and has the worst record in the NBA. Memphis has gone into
tanking developing its young players mode, and Gasol doesn’t have a lot of NBA seasons left (his skills are showing decline) — this had to feel like a wasted season.
If nothing else, Marc has the backing of his brother Pau Gasol, as Ronald Tillery reports at the Commercial-Appeal.
“Of course, he’s upset. He should be upset,” Pau, a forward with the San Antonio Spurs, said on the eve of their game Monday night at AT&T Center. “Any player who competes and cares would be upset. That’s a good sign from a player who cares and is a leader. He’s putting his body on the line and not quitting.”
“What I told him is, ‘Do your best. Keep competing.’ That’s the only thing you can control,” Pau said. “You can’t control that one of your best players, Mike Conley, is out for the year. You can’t control that (Chandler) Parsons, one of your biggest signings, has an (injury) issue and so forth. All you can control is your effort, your work ethic, your mindset going into games.”
By the way, Gasol is expected to return to the Grizzlies’ lineup Monday night against San Antonio.
While Marc Gasol, 33, may not be the player he was four or five years ago, what happened this season is Memphis was not on him. Mike Conley has been injured most of the season, Chandler Parsons has played in just 28 games, there wasn’t a lot of depth or shooting on this roster to begin with, and the GM (likely at the behest of ownership) is not trading anybody — not even Tyreke Evans at the deadline (and they likely lose his this summer for nothing). The idea is that if healthy the Grizzlies still think they are a playoff team, an idea up for debate but if healthy they would be in the mix for one of the final playoff slots in the West, not the No. 1 overall pick.
Teams called about a Gasol trade at the deadline and were turned away fast, he was not available. Gasol has said he’s not going to ask for a trade — he wants to win in Memphis (the city where he spent his high school years while Pau was playing for the Grizzlies). Even if he asks for a move this summer it might be hard — he is owed $24.1 million next season and has a player option (that he likely picks up) for $25.6 million for the season after that, the final two years of his latest max contract. Not a lot of teams can take that on, fewer are willing to at Gasol’s age. This marriage is going to continue.
The only question is how frustrating a union is it next season?