Marc Gasol

And-Ones: Lineups, Fournier, Roc Nation, Gasol

The league has made a proposal requiring teams to reveal their starting lineups at least 30 minutes prior to tip-off, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets. Currently, teams only have to issue their lineups 10 minutes before the start of the game. The move would most likely facilitate wagering, particularly with daily fantasy leagues, who would have more advance knowledge of any lineup changes.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Magic swingman Evan Fournier, who played for bronze-medalist France in the FIBA World Cup, was disappointed that many NBA stars chose to skip the event, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports. “To be honest, like, when you look at (LeBron) James, KD (Kevin Durant), all these guys, they came here already, they won,” Fournier said. “Whatever, it’s fine. Friends of mine like Tobias (Harris), I thought it was a great opportunity for him to see something different and compete. I don’t think they realize how beneficial this is for their career.”
  • Veteran agent Roger Montgomery has resigned from Roc Nation Sports to focus on other management projects, Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets. Montgomery negotiated Rudy Gay‘s two-year, $32MM contract with the Spurs and also represented Hornets lottery pick PJ Washington.
  • Marc Gasol showed he’s still an effective player during the World Cup, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes. Gasol was the defensive and offensive anchor of Spain’s gold-medal winning team and that provides hope for the Raptors that they can still make some noise in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, maligned point guard Frank Ntilikina showed he could be an elite defender for the Knicks with the way he handled Kemba Walker while playing for France.

And-Ones: Spain, Bryant, Nowitzki, Tampering

Following Spain’s 95-75 gold medal victory over Argentina in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Sunday morning, head coach Sergio Scariolo praised his team’s hard work, determination and efforts.

Spain wound up finishing first in the competition, despite not having the likes of Serge Ibaka, Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol, surprising observers around the tournament.

“I can only be proud of what these guys did and feel that basketball was fair to these guys,” Scariolo said, as relayed by Sportando’s Nicola Lupo. “We weren’t the tallest, the most talented we weren’t in the odds when the competitions started but we worked hard. They worked hard, they prepared, they kept fighting in tough moments. There were some really tough moments during a couple of games and they didn’t lose faith in themselves. And then basketball rewarded them with this big award which they fully deserve.”

Spain was led by players such as World Cup MVP Ricky Rubio and veteran center Marc Gasol, among others, winning its first title since 2006. The team also did a tremendous job neutralizing red-hot Luis Scola in the gold medal game, limiting him to just eight points on 1-of-10 shooting.

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

  • Kobe Bryant believes it doesn’t matter which NBA team has the best duo entering the 2019/20 season, explaining his thoughts in a recent interview. “It doesn’t matter. I think it matters what they put around those two guys, and then what is the offensive and defensive system they’re going to be executing. You could have marquee names and put those marquee names together, and guess if they could play together or not, but it ultimately comes down to what system do you have them in and how does that affect the rest of the guys.”
  • Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki has been appointed Chair of the FIBA Players Commission for the 2019-23 term, FIBA Basketball announced. “Dirk is one of the greatest players to have ever played basketball, and is highly respected worldwide,” FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said. “He has had an exceptional career both with the NBA and with his national team and will bring with him a huge amount of experience and knowledge.  He is the perfect person for this position and  we look forward to working closely with him over the next term of office.” 
  • The NBA is fighting a losing battle when it comes to the topic of tampering, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News writes. “I think it’s pointless at the end of the day to have rules that we can’t enforce,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “It hurts the perception of integrity around the league if people say, ‘Well, you have that rule and it’s obvious that teams aren’t fully complying, so why do you have it?’ I think the sense in the (Board of Governors meeting) room was we should revisit those rules.”

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Poirier, Ntilikina, Nets

Veteran NBA center Marc Gasol added to his already impressive year by helping lead Spain to a gold medal in the FIBA World Cup today, finishing with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in 25 minutes of work against Argentina.

Gasol, who also helped Toronto win the NBA championship in June, joined Lamar Odom as the only players in league history to win both a title and gold medal in the same calendar year.

“It reminded me a lot of the Larry O’Brien trophy,” Gasol said when asked about winning the Naismith Trophy, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The Naismith Trophy is awarded to the winner of the World Cup. “And hey, you can drink out of it!

“When I saw it, it was pretty shiny as well. Completely different tournament, completely different setup, but the feeling of fulfillment was there, because you invested so much, you risked a lot and you put everything on the line for your guys.”

This year’s World Cup could be the last for Gasol, who turns 35 in January and is set to enter his 12th NBA season this fall. The defensive-minded center has been on top of the basketball world in 2019, something he surely won’t forget when he looks back on his career.

“It feels like I haven’t stopped playing basketball,” Gasol said. “It’s been an amazing year for me and I’m just happy.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Vincent Poirier was a good pick-up for the Celtics this offseason, according to French teammates Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier. Poirier signed a two-year deal to join the franchise back in July. “It’s clear that he’s a center that can block shots and control the paint,” Fournier said, per John Schuhmann of NBA.com. (Twitter links). “He’s a terrific roller, can really catch a lob, and obviously has a lot of energy. It’s a good pick-up for Boston, for sure.”
  • Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina is healthy again and motivated for the upcoming season, tweets Marc Stein of the New York Times. Ntilikina, according to Stein, also mentioned how the entire group is “very hungry” for next season. New York has several new players on its roster, including the likes of Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett and others.
  • The Nets plan to give away 10,000 Kyrie Irving jerseys when the team hosts the Knicks on October 25, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The Knicks were one of several teams interested in signing Irving in July, though Irving was said to have his sights set on joining the Nets well before the start of free agency.

World Cup Notes: Spain, Rubio, Popovich, Fox

Suns guard Ricky Rubio was named World Cup MVP as Spain captured the gold medal this morning by rolling past Argentina, 95-75. France claimed the bronze by defeating Australia.

The all-World Cup team had a strong NBA flavor as Rubio was joined by Spanish teammate Marc Gasol, Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, France’s Evan Fournier and Argentina’s Luis Scola. Gasol capped a memorable three-month stretch that included an NBA title with the Raptors and the World Cup crown.

“We were not the most talented team,” Rubio said. “We were not the biggest team. But we played with heart. We will be family for life.” (Twitter link from Emiliano Carchia of Sportando)

There’s more World Cup news to pass along:

  • Coach Gregg Popovich blasted critics who are taking shots at Team USA after a seventh-place finish, relays Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The Americans won the past two World Cups, but fell far short this time, losing back-to-back games to France and Serbia. “Some people want to play the blame game. There’s no blame to be placed anywhere,” Popovich said. “They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn’t win a gold medal? That’s a ridiculous attitude. It’s immature, it’s arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn’t respect all the other teams in the world and doesn’t respect that these guys did the best they could.” Windhorst notes that only four of the 35 players who were on the projected U.S. roster last summer wound up playing in China.
  • There are no hard feelings from USA Basketball toward Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, who left the team shortly before it departed for exhibition games in Australia, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. It was suggested on ESPN’s “The Jump” this week that Fox wouldn’t be considered for future international teams, but USA Basketball communications director Craig Miller said the organization “understands De’Aaron’s decision.”
  • Both of this year’s finalists were successful with players who are considered past their prime, strengthening the argument that continuity provides a huge advantage in international play, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Argentina was led by the 39-year-old Scola, while Spain’s foundation of Rubio, Gasol, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez and Victor Claver has been together for many years.

Eastern Notes: Gasol, Carter, Simmons, Booker

With Kawhi Leonard gone from Toronto, veteran big man Marc Gasol becomes even more important to the Raptors’ success this season and beyond than he was during the team’s memorable run to a title during the 2018/19 campaign, writes Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer.

With Leonard back home in California, forward Pascal Siakam becomes the undisputed future of the Raptors, with his development into a star of paramount concern for Toronto’s long term outlook. And as Tjarks analyzes, Siakam is at his best – or at least was last year – when playing alongside Gasol.

For one, Siakam loves to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim, so it’s important to play him with a center who can shoot well enough from the outside to drag Siakam’s defender out of the paint.

Additionally, Siakam is not yet an elite play-maker, so it helps to have other players like Gasol around him who can keep everyone else involved in the offense while Siakam plays in attack mode.

Finally, Gasol provides a large body that Toronto can use during the regular season to bang with big Eastern Conference centers like Joel Embiid over the course of an 82-game season. As Tjarks analogizes, Gasol essentially acts as a lead blocker for Siakam, clearing obstacles for Siakam to thrive.

There’s more tonight from the Eastern Conference:

And-Ones: Drummond, Gasol, Leonard

Andre Drummond recently spoke about how he was excited for free agency next summer, leading some to speculate that he would like to leave the Pistons. He took to Instagram to clarify his comments.

“My point was I’m excited to go through the process because I never been [through] it, doesn’t mean I’m trying to leave Detroit. I love it here,” the big man said on his social media page.

Drummond has a player option for the 2020/21 season, though he called this upcoming campaign his “contract year,” insinuating that he’s preparing to opt out.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Marc Gasol doesn’t blame Kawhi Leonard for leaving the Raptors and joining the Clippers in a move that will put Leonard closer to his hometown. “I haven’t talked to him. Just a little through group text — that was it. You can’t blame the guy for wanting to go home. You can’t,” Gasol told Marc Stein of The New York Times in his latest newsletter. “If you tell me I can go back to Barcelona and make an absurd amount of money and play in the NBA — I understand completely the decision and respect it and wish him the best.”
  • In the same piece, Gasol spoke about how he didn’t know that winning a championship would mean as much to him until after the Raptors took home the Larry O’Brien trophy. “It fulfilled me in a way that I didn’t know it could,” Gasol said. “Instantly you gain so much respect for everyone who has done this. Golden State, going to five straight finals and the rings that they have, I just instantly got so much respect for them. And LeBron going to eight finals in a row. Just doing it once put me beyond the limits I thought I had — physically and mentally. It was great to see, for myself, pushing those limits and leaving everything out there. It was awesome.”
  • NBA agent James Dunleavy is joining Excel Sports Management, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Dunleavy’s clients include Chandler Parsons and Gerald Green, among others.

World Cup Notes: Joseph, Spain, Teodosic, Rankings

Is guard Cory Joseph in or out of the FIBA World Cup for Team Canada? Joseph, the most prominent NBA member remaining on the depleted Team Canada roster, was withdrawing from the competition, according to a tweet from Toronto Star reporter Doug Smith. However, Team Canada coach Nick Nurse said that report was incorrect and that Joseph would indeed join the team in China, John Casey of 7Olympics tweets.

Joseph is not currently with the team during exhibition games in Australia and Sportsnet Canada’s Michael Grange notes that Joseph would have to leave for China soon, given that the tournament begins in 10 days and he needs to adjust to the 12-hour time difference (Twitter link).

We have more World Cup news:

Atlantic Notes: Gasol, Lin, Poirier, Erman

Raptors center Marc Gasol is thankful that the Grizzlies didn’t agree to his request not to be traded, relays Alex Madrid of Eurohoops. Gasol had been with Memphis for more than a decade before the team committed to rebuilding and sent him to Toronto in a deadline deal. The move led to Gasol collecting his first NBA championship ring.

“There have been few players that haven’t been traded over the years in the NBA,” Gasol said. “If it had been dependent on me, I wouldn’t have been traded. I always thought I could reverse the situation there (in Memphis) and bring the team to the top. But, thank God, they ignored me.”

Gasol will be part of the remaining foundation as the Raptors try to stay in contention without Kawhi Leonard. The 34-year-old will earn $25.6MM this season in the final year of his contract.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Jeremy Lin appears distraught about his free agency situation in a video tweeted by Daily Sports Dosage. “Free agency has been tough,” Lin says. “Because I feel like in some ways the NBA has kind of given up on me.” The Raptors signed Lin in February to provide backcourt depth, but he shot just 37% in 23 games and was barely used during the playoffs.
  • French center Vincent Poirier could have made more money in Europe, but he wanted the challenge of playing in the NBA, tweets Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports. Poirier was the EuroLeague’s top rebounder last season, and the Celtics believe his athleticism will translate well.
  • Former Celtics assistant Darren Erman will become head coach of the organization’s G League affiliate in Maine, according to Jay King and Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Known as a defensive specialist, Erman has spent the past four seasons with the Pelicans.

And-Ones: Howard, Summer League, Spain, BIG3

Having been sent from Washington to Memphis in a trade for C.J. Miles, veteran center Dwight Howard is a member of the Grizzlies for now. However, the club is expected to waive or trade him at some point. After he was limited to just nine games in 2018/19 for health reasons, it’s not clear what the next step will be for Howard, but the eight-time All-Star tells Shams Charania of The Athletic that he has adjusted his mindset and is prepared to do whatever it takes to help his next team win.

“I don’t have an ego — it’s dead,” Howard said. “It had to die for me to be who I am. Sometimes when you want to become who you want to be, you have to die within yourself. Once you learn that you have to give up yourself for the team, that’s when things flourish.”

According to Charania, several NBA teams have said that they’re intrigued by Howard, who says he has been fully cleared after last year’s injury issues. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year claims he has lost 25 pounds since the end of the season, and one executive who saw him recently said he appears to be in his best shape in years, per Charania.

It remains to be seen whether Howard will get an opportunity to choose his next team on the free agent market, but if he does, he has one clear priority, he tells Charania: “Winning. Winning. Winning. I want to win. Nothing else. Just win.”

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

  • According to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link), there has been talk in Las Vegas about the possibility of moving back the start of Summer League in future years. Postponing the start date until after the end of the July moratorium would help address the problem of having traded 2019 draftees tied up in deals that can’t be made official until after Summer League is underway.
  • Spain announced its preliminary roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup this week, as Sportando relays, and the group includes a number of familiar names. The 16-man list, which will be cut down to 12 for the competition, features Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Willy Hernangomez, Juan Hernangomez, and former NBA players like Rudy Fernandez and Victor Claver.
  • The BIG3 announced on Wednesday that Baron Davis, Bonzi Wells, Lamar Odom, and Jermaine O’Neal are being “deactivated” for the 2019 season. The league cited the need to “maximize competition, protect the health of players, and to raise the level of the professionalism of the BIG3.”

Raptors Rumors: Kawhi, Lowry, Gasol, Ibaka, Green

The Raptors were confident entering free agency about their chances to re-sign NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, but that confidence began to waver after they met with Leonard and his uncle Dennis Robertson in Toronto last Wednesday, sources tell Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

According to Lewenberg, Leonard and his camp asked for a lot from the Raptors during that meeting — “things players don’t generally ask for in standard contract negotiations,” writes Lewenberg. One of Lewenberg’s sources describes those requests as “unreasonable,” suggesting that Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri wouldn’t have been able to meet them all even if he’d wanted to.

The requests caused the Raptors to question whether Leonard was seriously considering them at all, according to Lewenberg. A belief that Kawhi was eyeing the Clippers all along prompted the Raptors to not get too invested in potential trade discussions with the Thunder. Lewenberg suggests that those preliminary talks included Paul George, but not Russell Westbrook, and didn’t even reach the team’s highest-ranking executives.

Within his own look at the Leonard situation, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca conveys many of the same sentiments that Lewenberg did. According to Grange, as Leonard’s requests became more difficult to meet and communication became less constant, it became more clear that the Raptors weren’t his top priority, as one person close to the talks described it.

Grange adds that the Raptors’ contact with the Thunder in the hours leading up to Leonard’s announcement “may have been somewhat exaggerated.” Toronto tapped out fairly early once it was evident OKC was using talks with the Raptors as leverage.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • One Clippers official who spoke to Grange was relieved that his team was still able to land Kawhi after the success he enjoyed in Toronto in 2018/19: “The Raptors did everything right. We saw the parade, saw those pictures and figured that was it. We were done.”
  • Speaking to reporters, including Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun, Ujiri suggested on Tuesday that he’s not exactly reeling from losing Leonard: “I think we got a great deal out of this. We won a championship, so we’re happy. And, honestly, it’s on to the next. This is the NBA and this is how it works. You can’t hide under the table and cry. Honestly, I’ve lost no sleep, I’m not disappointed. It’s on to what’s next. I’m telling Raptors fans and everybody, don’t lose one day of sleep, one second of sleep. We’re going to be just fine. We’re going to be alright.”
  • Don’t expect the next steps for the Raptors to involve an immediate tear-down. Sources tell Lewenberg that the team has no intention of moving veterans on expiring contracts – such as Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka – before the season. Of course, it’s possible that stance could change by the trade deadline if the Raps don’t have a great first half.
  • While there was a belief that Danny Green would lean toward re-signing with the Raptors and trying to defend their title if Leonard returned, that may not have been the case after all. According to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (via Twitter), Green told the Mavericks that he wouldn’t be returning to Toronto, and his choice came down to the Lakers vs. the Mavs.