Marc Gasol played the Grizzlies on Sunday for the first time since being traded to Toronto in February of 2019, though this isn’t how the veteran center envisioned his reunion would be, Josh Lewenberg of TSN writes.
The Raptors and Grizzlies were originally slated to play each other twice late in the 2019/20 season, though COVID-19 naturally put a halt to these plans in March. Gasol didn’t get the chance this season to play in Memphis for the first time since the trade, with the city still holding a special place in his heart.
“I got there when I was 16 years old, it was my first time out of Spain,” Gasol said. “Imagine what it meant for me to go to high school there as a teenager and [then leave] as a father of two kids. My youngest actually is from Memphis. He was born in Memphis. And my daughter, their best friends are from Memphis and so on.”
“My ties to the city and my roots go pretty deep. My love for the people there, and what they mean [to me], and for the franchise, it’s forever.”
Gasol spent the first 10 1/2 seasons of his career with the Grizzlies, making three All-Star teams while leading the franchise to numerous playoff berths. He recorded 10 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes of action during the contest.
There’s more from the Western Conference tonight:
- Several figures around the league raved about the performance from Mavericks star Luka Doncic on Saturday, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. Doncic finished with 36 points, 14 rebounds and 19 assists in a win over the Bucks, as he continues to prove his worth as an offensive superstar. “I clapped,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I applauded. I thought it was phenomenal. The sign of a great player, a truly great player, is the ability to pull off something like that against a team like Milwaukee, that gives up virtually nothing in the paint. We’re seeing more things all the time. Luka is not only a great basketball player, he’s a great performer. I’d pay money to watch him play. I don’t say that about a lot of players, but he’s really special.”
- Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee explores the job security of Kings coach Luke Walton, general manager Vlade Divac, and more in his latest mailbag. Sacramento (29-40) is currently three games behind the No. 8 seed Grizzlies (33-38), losing four of their five games in Orlando. The team will be eliminated from playoff contention if it loses to the Rockets on Sunday.
- NBA insiders at ESPN explore how Pelicans star Zion Williamson has played in Orlando and what it means for the team’s future. Williamson has seen his minutes reduced throughout the team’s games, even scoring a career-low seven points in just 14 minutes during his second game on the campus. Most of the writers agree that Williamson, despite his impressive athleticism and defensive potential, needs to show more effort on defense to reach the next level of his game and help the Pelicans succeed.