Marc Gasol

And-Ones: Fournier, France, Udoh, Gasol

Knicks guard Evan Fournier has expressed confidence in the future of France’s national team, discussing his vision for the program in an interview with L’Equipe (hat tip to Sportando).

Fournier, 28, was part of the French team that nearly defeated Team USA in the Gold Medal Olympic game last month. While his team narrowly missed out on a gold medal, it did beat Team USA in an exhibition contest two weeks earlier. Fournier led all scorers with 28 points during that outing.

“We have to promote our sport culture, stop being afraid of being ambitious,” Fournier explained. “I want this to change and our team can do it. We are not afraid of anyone. My vision is to become as dominant as Spain has been in the last fifteen years. Tokyo is just our first final … I want to win Eurobasket 2022.  This is not the time to stop. We have the opportunity to build a dynasty.

“This team must grow every summer, relive the same emotions, reactivate what has made possible our success in Tokyo: putting aside the ego, fighting for each other, having this winning mentality. And starting over every year. It is an opportunity for our sport, but also something that can go beyond basketball, help sport in France. We can set an example for an entire generation.”

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA center Ekpe Udoh has suffered a complete tear of his left knee patellar tendon, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. The 34-year-old will undergo surgery for the injury and no timetable has been issued. As we previously relayed, it’s believed that Udoh slipped due to an on-court sticker during the Italian SuperCup quarterfinals on Saturday.
  • Veteran NBA big man Pau Gasol briefly discussed the ongoing free agency of his brother, Marc Gasol, acknowledging that Marc has plenty of enthusiasm for Spanish club Basquet Girona. Marc and the club have been linked since he was waived by the Grizzlies last week. “Marc has earned the freedom and flexibility to make his own decision and he will do so when he decides,” Pau said, according to Spanish newspaper Marca (hat tip Sports Illustrated). “I know he has a lot of enthusiasm for Basquet Girona, a club in which I am also involved as vice president. He is in a different situation, because he is five years younger than me. We will see what he decides to do this season and later, I am also waiting.“

Pacific Notes: McGee, Kuminga, M. Gasol, Collison

JaVale McGee already has three NBA championship rings and he believes joining the Suns gives him a good chance to get another one, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. McGee chose the defending Western Conference champs in free agency, signing a one-year contract worth $5MM, and he sees his role as a mentor who can contribute valuable minutes as a backup center.

“I feel like my game definitely helps Deandre Ayton in a major way just for the veteran leadership alone,” McGee said. “Also when he gets into foul trouble and having that veteran big to come in that’s 7 foot, block shots, defend, rebound and does all the intangibles that a real big man does.”

McGee has played alongside some elite teammates during his 13-year NBA career, including Stephen Curry and LeBron James. Now he’s looking forward to teaming up with Chris Paul, who transformed Phoenix into a title contender last season.

“Every big man that has ever played with Chris Paul has done well,” McGee said. “I just feel like Chris Paul is definitely the head of the snake and he’s definitely going to lead us to the finals again.” 

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jonathan Kuminga will need to be versatile to see significant playing time as a rookie, Warriors assistant Kris Weems tells Grant Liffman of NBC Sports. Golden State experimented with Kuminga as a small-ball center during Summer League to see how well he could defend post players. “When you are going to draft a kid that size, and knowing that long term he is going to be bigger and stronger, he may grow a couple inches taller, his versatility because of his size gives him a chance to stay on the floor longer,” Weems said.
  • Marc Gasol came close to signing with the Warriors last summer and could emerge as an option later this season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Gasol has returned to Spain after being waived by the Grizzlies, but Slater notes that he’s the type of passing big man who performs well in Steve Kerr’s system and he could be tempted to return around midseason if Golden State is in the title hunt. The Warriors still have their taxpayer mid-level exception available, although using it would result in a significant increase in their luxury tax bill.
  • Darren Collison worked out for the Warriors earlier this month and remains an option for the 15th roster spot, but there’s speculation that he’s hoping for a training camp invitation from the Lakers, Slater adds in the same piece.

Warriors Notes: Offseason, 15th Roster Spot, Gasol

The Warriors are one of the most interesting teams to monitor entering the new season. After reigning scoring-champion and two-time MVP Stephen Curry proved yet again the incredible impact he has when healthy, the team has high expectations.

The Warriors did not pull the trigger on any major trades, instead opting to keep their draft picks and focus on internal development, along with the shrewd signings of veterans Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr., and Nemanja Bjelica to minimum contracts. Zach Harper of The Athletic liked Golden State’s moves overall, grading the offseason a B-plus and ranking the team as a playoff hopeful.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • In the same piece, Harper specifically mentions the wing and forward depth as noteworthy roster improvements over last season’s group. He also states that even if Klay Thompson is only able to find his old shooting form and nothing else, that would certainly help improve the team’s 20th-ranked offense.
  • While the Warriors currently only have 13 players on guaranteed contracts (and one two-way spot open), Damion Lee is considered likely to make the roster, leaving the 15th spot up for grabs. Anthony Slater of The Athletic explores the team’s options for the last spot, stating that Gary Payton II is a slight favorite due to his athleticism and defensive intensity.
  • Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area posits that the team would be wise to lure Marc Gasol back to the NBA at some point during the season, if possible. Poole notes that the Warriors lack depth at center, and even if Gasol is only asked to play 15-18 MPG in certain matchups, his passing and basketball IQ would be very valuable to the offense.
  • In case you missed it, the Warriors are evaluating their depth at backup point guard, as they have worked out (or will work out) veteran NBA point guards Ryan Arcidiacono, Darren Collison, and Isaiah Thomas.

And-Ones: Mirotic, Head Coaches, Gasol, Littles

Veteran forward Nikola Mirotic shocked NBA observers and fans alike during the 2019 offseason when he opted to return to his home country of Spain as a free agent, signing with Barcelona despite reportedly having lucrative multiyear NBA offers on the table. Two years later, Mirotic said that he doesn’t really miss the NBA, with one notable exception.

“I would say I only miss playing against the best, those superstars like (Kevin) Durant, (James) Harden, Steph (Curry), Giannis (Antetokounmpo)… It’s something unforgettable,” Mirotic told Alex Molina of “Playing against LeBron (James)… just amazing. Thinking that I also played with some of them like Anthony Davis, Giannis himself, Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose… An amazing experience. You always want to play against these guys, but apart from that, I don’t miss the NBA.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • NBA coaches will once again be allowed to wear casual attire on the sidelines rather than having to wear suits and ties, tweets Marc Stein of Substack. The league adjusted the dress code for head coaches during the 2020 bubble and has opted not to revert back to the old rules.
  • Although the expectation is that newly-released center Marc Gasol will sign a contract with Girona in Spain, a report from Spanish outlet indicates that the 36-year-old hasn’t yet made a final decision on his future (hat tip to HoopsHype).
  • Gene Littles, who played in the ABA and later coached the Cavaliers, Hornets, and Nuggets, has died at age 78, according to a press release from his alma mater, High Point University. Littles’ head coaching stints were short-lived, as he led Cleveland, Charlotte, and Denver to a 44-111 (.284) record across parts of four seasons. However, he did win an ABA title as a player with the Kentucky Colonels in 1975.

Grizzlies Officially Waive Marc Gasol

After acquiring him from the Lakers last Friday, the Grizzlies have officially waived center Marc Gasol, as expected, per a press release from the team.

The trade that sent Gasol from Los Angeles to Memphis was a salary-dump deal that saw the Grizzlies acquire a future second-round pick and cash. Despite Gasol’s history with the franchise, the plan was never for the Grizzlies to keep him — Memphis has too many players on guaranteed contracts, and the 36-year-old big man wanted to remain in Spain with his family rather than playing in the NBA this season.

A report over the weekend indicated that Gasol intends to sign with Girona, the Spanish team he owns. His NBA release today frees him up to officially complete that move.

A three-time All-Star and the NBA’s 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, Gasol spent the 2020/21 season with the Lakers, but his relationship with the team soured after L.A. signed Andre Drummond as its new starting center in the second half. The Lakers didn’t re-sign Drummond this offseason, but added centers Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan, paving the way for Gasol’s exit.

The Grizzlies’ release of Gasol briefly reduced their roster count to 19 players, allowing the team to complete its one-for-two trade with the Celtics. After that deal, Memphis is back to the 20-man offseason roster limit.

Marc Gasol Reportedly Signing With Girona In Spain

Marc Gasol is expected to continue his career with Girona, a team based in Catalonia, Spain, according to a report from EuroHoops.

The Lakers traded the 36-year-old center on Friday to the Grizzlies, who released him so he could finish his career in his native country. He had expressed a desire to return to Spain so he could be closer to his family.

Gasol had been linked to Girona and Barcelona, the two teams he played for before coming to the NBA. However, Barcelona was considered unlikely because of its financial situation and lack of an open roster spot, according to EuroHoops.

Gasol, who owns the team in Girona, could make the signing official as early as Monday, reports the Spanish website L’Esportiu de Catalunya. He was named Spanish league MVP while playing for Girona in 2008 and could help boost the team, which is currently relegated to the league’s second division.

Gasol played 14 NBA seasons with the Grizzlies, Raptors and Lakers and earned three All-Star appearances. He started 42 of the 52 games he played for L.A. last season and averaged 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per night.

Pacific Notes: Gasol, Drummond, Thompson, Wiseman, Johnson

The Lakers’ signing of Andre Drummond after the trade deadline soured the franchise’s relationship with Marc Gasol, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic (Twitter link). Gasol lost his starting job and that created a rift that could not be resolved, Oram adds. Gasol was traded to the Grizzlies on Friday, though he’ll be waived and will remain in Spain with his family.

Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register runs with the same theme, noting that Gasol called his season with the Lakers “chaotic.” The Lakers signaled this week that Gasol wouldn’t return when they signed DeAndre Jordan.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are sending their own 2024 pick with no protections in the Gasol deal with the Grizzlies, Bobby Marks of ESPN confirms (via Twitter). The Grizzlies are also receiving $250K in the deal, Marks adds.
  • There will be plenty of pressure on Klay Thompson and James Wiseman to produce for the Warriors during the upcoming season, Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. It’s unlikely that the Warriors’ floor-spacing will improve until Thompson’s return, and they need Wiseman to develop into a frontcourt force in order to become a contender again.
  • Suns wing Cameron Johnson has changed representation, hiring agents Ty Sullivan, Steve Heumann, Melvin Booker and Simone Capers of CAA Basketball, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Johnson, who is entering his third season in the league, averaged 8.2 PPG in 21 game during Phoenix’s postseason run to the Finals. Johnson, a 2019 lottery pick, is extension-eligible next offseason. Melvin Booker is Devin Booker‘s father.

Lakers Trade Marc Gasol, Second-Rounder, Cash To Grizzlies

4:57pm: The trade is official, according to a Grizzlies press release (Twitter link).

1:38pm: The Grizzlies remain active on the trade market, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Memphis has agreed to acquire Marc Gasol, a 2024 second-round pick, and cash from the Lakers in exchange for the draft rights to 2016 second-rounder Wang Zhelin.

The swap will send Gasol back to the team with whom he earned three All-Star berths and a Defensive Player of the Year award, but the reunion will be short-lived. As Wojnarowski explains, the Grizzlies and Gasol have already agreed that he’ll be waived in order to allow him to remain in Spain with his family.

Gasol told reporters following Spain’s elimination from the Olympics last month that he intended to continue his NBA career and play out the last year of his contract with Los Angeles. However, there had been increasing chatter in recent weeks that suggested the veteran center had played his last game as a Laker. As Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group tweets, the “writing was on the wall” for Gasol following L.A.’s signing of DeAndre Jordan on Thursday.

It’s unclear if Gasol is set to retire as a player or if he simply won’t seek a new team right away after being released by the Grizzlies. Either way, the move will open up a roster spot for the Lakers and save them some money, even after accounting for the cash they send to Memphis in the deal.

Taking into account Gasol’s $2.69MM salary and the accompanying luxury-tax penalty, Wojnarowski estimates that L.A. will recoup about $10MM. The Lakers will have 13 players on guaranteed contracts once the deal is finalized, leaving two spots open on the 15-man roster, though the club may only fill one of them for the start of the regular season.

Los Angeles also gets the rights to Wang, the 57th pick in the 2016 draft. However, it looks like he was just included to make the deal legal — he seems unlikely to sign an NBA contract anytime soon.

As for the Grizzlies, this will be their seventh trade of the summer, including the Juan Hernangomez deal with Boston that’s not yet official. Like many of Memphis’ other trades, this one won’t move the needle much, but allows the team to acquire a minor asset in the form of a 2024 second-rounder. That pick will be the Lakers’ own and is unprotected, per Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link).

Until that Hernangomez deal is done, the Grizzlies have an open spot on their 20-man offseason roster, so they’ll likely look to complete the acquisition of Gasol and then release him before finalizing their deal with Boston, in order to avoid having to cut anyone.

The Grizzlies can acquire Gasol without matching salaries because he was signed using the minimum salary exception last offseason and can be acquired using the same exception. The Lakers will create a small trade exception worth Gasol’s outgoing salary ($2.69MM).

DeAndre Jordan Expected To Sign With Lakers

DeAndre Jordan is expected to sign with the Lakers once the Nets’ deal with the Pistons is completed and Detroit waives him, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Jordan will receive a veteran’s minimum contract of one year and $2.6MM from Los Angeles.

Brooklyn agreed to trade Jordan along with four second-round picks and $5.78MM in cash for Jahlil Okafor and Sekou Doumbouya. The Pistons are expected to buy out and waive Jordan, who has two years and nearly $20MM remaining on his contract.

Jordan is giving back $4MM to get out of his contract, Charania adds in another tweet.

How much Jordan, who fell out of Brooklyn’s rotation last season, would play with the Lakers is a major question mark. Los Angeles still has Marc Gasol on the roster and also signed Dwight Howard in free agency. Anthony Davis, naturally, will also see minutes at center. However, there’s been speculation that Gasol might not return to Los Angeles for the upcoming season.

The Lakers already have 13 players with guaranteed contracts and two others, Chaundee Brown and Mac McClung, on non-guaranteed deals.

Pacific Notes: Simmons, Kings, Rondo, Lakers’ Big Men

The Kings still need to re-balance their roster, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area, and the Sixers still need to find a graceful exit from the debacle they find themselves in with Ben Simmons.

While it’s unlikely the Kings have what Sixers president Daryl Morey might consider the Godfather offer he’s been waiting for, Ham writes that Sacramento has been all in on Simmons since he became potentially available, and the three-time All-Star could represent the franchise-changing move GM Monte McNair has been looking for.

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • In a similar vein, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes that sports betting site recently gave the Kings the best odds at landing Simmons of any team (+275). Anderson doesn’t believes that the Kings are fully “all-in” on Simmons though, adding that Sacramento is unlikely to include either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a potential trade.
  • Rajon Rondo isn’t worried about the Lakers’ age as a team, writes Royce Young of ESPN. In fact, he considers it an advantage. “Wisdom is definitely key to winning a championship,” Rondo said after officially rejoining the club. “We have a lot of that, obviously, with the age and experience on the court. I’m most excited about not being the oldest guy on the team anymore.” Rondo adds that it’s tough to last to the age many of the Lakers’ players have without discipline, which will be key for the team in its title hunt.
  • While not naming DeAndre Jordan specifically, Marc Stein confirms that – according to his league sources – the Lakers have been exploring the center market, despite Marc Gasol having one more year on his deal.