Gasol brothers lead today’s list of players looking overseas


Barcelona — already one of the powerhouse clubs of European basketball — could become dominant thanks to the NBA season winding its way toward oblivion.

Both Gasol brothers — the Lakers Pau and the Grizzlies’ Marc — could sign to play for the club as the NBA cancels the season. That is the big news in today’s rush of players trying to get paid to play overseas.

The Gasol brothers have been working out at the Barcelona facilities and news of their interest comes from Pau via (hat tip to SLAM for the translation).

‘If they cancel the season we would like to play here (in Barcelona). I speak for myself, but Marc would also like to play for Barcelona.’ Also assessed the possibility that Real Madrid tried to sign his brother. ‘I can not imagine him in white, but nothing is impossible.’ Pau said the cancellation would have a very nice season for the European leagues. ‘The best players in the world would be free and eager to play in other leagues,’ he said.”

In other player movement news:

• Andres Nocioni will play for Penarol in Argentina now. Nocioni is getting a pretty small salary but the team is picking up the insurance on his NBA contract. There is an opt out but if the lockout continues he likely stays.

• The Xinjiang Flying Tigers in China would like to get Jamal Crawford, reports ESPN. Crawford is a free agent and could play the full rest of the Chinese season (through March) then return to the NBA if there is a season going.

Pau, Marc Gasol working out with Barcelona during lockout

Leave a comment

Marc and Pau Gasol are staying home in Spain during the NBA lockout.

They’re not going to be playing Call of Duty and eating Doritos then showing up to camp out of shape, however. They found a pretty good place to workout, Sportando tweets.

@FCBarcelona_cat officially announce that Marc and Pau Gasol will practice with the team during lockout. Marc starts today, Pau on Thursday

Nice. Barcelona is the club both played for prior to coming to the NBA, and it is one of the elite clubs in all of Europe. The facilities and coaches are first rate. Also, with both there they can work out against another quality NBA big man and sharpen their games.

The news should make Lakers and Grizzlies fans happy, we know the Gasols will not be going Shawn Kemp after the lockout.

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

Leave a comment

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.

Pau Gasol says he’ll play in Spain if lockout drags on

Leave a comment

We’re just a couple days into EuroBasket, but if favorite Spain goes on to win the gold medal, Pau Gasol is headed to being named MVP of the tournament. He has looked like the old Gasol — not the one from the Dallas series in the playoffs — with a plethora of moves around the rim and a good midrange shot.

And if the NBA lockout drags on for a full season, he is taking those skills to Barcelona. Probably.

That is what Gasol told Spanish Web site (via Hoopshype).

Not really a surprise. Gasol’s attitude is that of a lot of top NBA stars — they want to see how the lockout plays out for a little while, now that talks are getting serious, then make a decision if things look bleak in a couple months. The problem with that is a lot of the top European teams will have a set roster and may well not want to rent a player for half a season.

That said, Gasol may be the exception as he played in Barcelona before coming to the NBA. But there have been no formal talks between the sides. Yet.

Europe’s best teams still hesitant to sign NBA stars

1 Comment

We keep hearing rumors that there is going to be a flood of NBA players signing overseas soon — including some All-Star level players.

If it happens — and that’s a big if — they still will not be signing with the best teams in Europe. They will be signing with the also-rans of the continent — not with the teams in the EuroLeague (a secondary competition pitting best club teams from different leagues against each other, like soccer’s Champion’s League).

The powerhouse teams with the names even American basketball fans quickly recognize — FC Barcelona, CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid and others — are not going to sign a guy they may lose mid-season when the labor situation is resolved and the lockout ends. Don’t take my word for it (even though we’ve said that from the start around here), take the word of the EuroLeague CEO Jordi Bertomeu, who spoke to Ian Thomsen at Sports Illustrated.

“Our clubs need to have stable rosters,” said Bertomeu via a translator. “They need to know how long they will be able to employ the player. No team will sign a player for only two or three months, or for an uncertain period of time. This is our forecast….

The reason is partially the FIBA ruling that came down. What FIBA (basketball’s international governing body) said is that if a player is under an NBA contract they can sign elsewhere during the lockout but there must be an out clause that lets them return to the NBA once the lockout ends.

That does make the big name programs hesitant, they have not signed NBA stars. Maccabi Tel Aviv did sign the Nets Jordan Farmar and gave him an out clause, but that is an exception to the rule. And Farmar is no All-Star level player, he fits their system and he can be replaced fairly easily.

Instead, you have Deron Williams signing with Besiktas, a team that finished sixth in the unimpressive Turkish league last season. Besiktas is not in EuroLeague or other premiere international competitions. Or you have players flirting with China, where there is big money but the basketball is several notches below Spain and other big European markets (even Turkey). For these lesser teams the chance to raise their marketing profile and win a few games makes the investment worth it, even if they lose the player mid season.

For the big franchises, that turnover doesn’t make sense. There are NBA players that would want to go — Ricky Rubio and Pau Gasol both played for Barcelona, they might want to go back if the lockout drags on. The reason it won’t happen is it doesn’t work for Barcelona to rent a player.

“FC Barcelona wouldn’t import an NBA superstar because they would rather invest in a local talent,” said Bertomeu. “And it isn’t their budgetary strategy to spend so much money on a basketball player. That could change … but we don’t think it would happen, because it’s not part of the internal politics of the club.”