JULY 13TH, 4:36pm: The deal is official, the team announced.
“Re-signing Marc Gasol was the No. 1 priority for our organization this offseason,” GM Chris Wallace said. “For many years, Marc has been a pillar of our franchise and in a Memphis community that has watched him become one of the best basketball players in the world, so this is a great day for our team, our city and our fans across the Mid-South and worldwide.”
JULY 6TH, 3:21pm: The Grizzlies will re-sign Marc Gasol to a five-year deal worth more than $100MM, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). That’s presumably the max coming Gasol’s way. The deal includes a player option after year four, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Gasol kept a degree of mystery in the proceedings, but this outcome has seemed the most likely one for months as the Spanish big man who went to high in Memphis time and again expressed his affection for the city. He was reportedly to have committed to the team a week ago, but the wait was simply a function of the big man’s methodical nature, a source tells Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
The Spurs were the team that Memphis reportedly feared the most when it came to Gasol’s free agency, and Gasol referred to San Antonio as a model franchise and expressed his admiration of Tim Duncan. Still, at about the same time, Gasol once more alluded to his strong connection to Memphis. The Arn Tellem client had no shortage of interested teams, including the Mavs, Spurs and Lakers, but he decided against meeting anyone aside from the Grizzlies.
Memphis assumes some risk as it commits to a deal that runs past Gasol’s 35th birthday, but this year’s All-NBA First Team center doesn’t show signs of slowing down yet. He focused more on offense this year than in the past, averaging career highs in points per game, with 17.4, and shots per game, with 13.2. He and fellow soon-to-be Memphis signee Brandan Wright are poised to become the first players to whom the Grizzlies have committed any salary past 2016/17, so the team will have the capacity to build a new cast around Gasol. However, Gasol’s deal essentially closes off any chance Memphis had to open cap room this summer, meaning Wright will likely stand as the Grizzlies’ most significant free agent pickup from outside the team.