Marc Gasol

Lowe’s Latest: Gasol, Bucks, Suns, Pacers, Kings, Sixers, More

With Brook Lopez sidelined indefinitely, the Bucks and center Marc Gasol, who is currently playing for Girona in Spain, had discussed the possibility of a possible late-season deal, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link). However, Lowe suggests that a union “does not appear to be in the cards” now that Milwaukee has acquired Serge Ibaka.

It’s worth noting that the Bucks have three open spots on their 15-man roster following the trade deadline, so there still could be room for Gasol down the road, and it’s not like he and Ibaka haven’t had success teaming up in the past — the two vets played key roles for the 2019 champion Raptors. Still, Milwaukee may be looking to address other positions with those open roster spots, and there’s no guarantee Gasol will look to return to the NBA when his season is over in Spain.

Here are a few more highlights from Lowe’s post-deadline roundup:

  • Sources confirmed to Lowe that the Suns and Pacers had brief discussions about Deandre Ayton and Domantas Sabonis, which was first reported by Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Fischer suggested the two teams might be exploring the idea of an offseason sign-and-trade involving Ayton, and Lowe agrees that the talks seem to have been just exploratory and informal, possibly aimed at the future rather than present. Indiana subsequently traded Sabonis to Sacramento, which could eliminate the possibility of any future deal with Phoenix for Ayton, but Lowe points out that the Suns’ willingness to consider shaking up their roster – even in the offseason – is noteworthy.
  • Before acquiring Sabonis, the Kings approached the Hawks about John Collins, but they didn’t discuss Tyrese Haliburton or De’Aaron Fox in that context, says Lowe.
  • Lowe expects the Sixers to explore the buyout market for a backup center, since there’s no guarantee that Paul Millsap will bounce back in Philadelphia and Charles Bassey is unproven.
  • The Spurs explored ways to move up in last year’s draft, according to Lowe, who notes that San Antonio has since gained more draft ammo to potentially revisit that idea going forward.
  • Lowe contends that Kristaps Porzingis should take his trade to the Wizards “as a huge slap in the face,” given the modest return the Mavericks received. As Lowe writes, Dallas appeared to be trying to gain more flexibility for future moves by taking back two (relatively) smaller contracts for Porzingis’ max deal, which could pay off down the road. But it “seems to be selling unthinkably low” on Porzingis, Lowe says.

Northwest Notes: Forbes, Towns, Wolves, Gasol

The Nuggetsfirst attempt to trade Bol Bol didn’t work out, but they’re happy with the return they got on the second try, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Denver officially completed a three-team deal today that sends out Bol and PJ Dozier in exchange for Bryn Forbes, a dangerous outside shooter who will have a clearly defined role on the team.

“Really for me, it comes down to Bryn Forbes is a career 42% three-point shooter,” coach Michael Malone said. “You go back to last year in their run in winning a world championship in Milwaukee, that first-round series they swept Miami, and Bryn Forbes averaged 15 points a game.”

Currently ranked 18th in three-point shooting percentage, the Nuggets have a need for Forbes, who is expected to make his debut either Friday or Sunday. Malone was disappointed to part with Dozier, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Malone offered to give Dozier a role on his staff if he ever goes into coaching.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has been working on personal growth to set a better example for his teammates, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Part of that process included making peace with Tom Thibodeau after their uneasy relationship when they were together in Minnesota. “I remember after we played the Knicks (last season) pulling Thibs to the side,” Towns said. “I said, ‘I just want to let you know I forgive you.’ There’s not bad blood. One day let’s just go get dinner. Let’s just chill. We don’t have to worry about the business side, let’s just work on our relationship.”
  • Timberwolves head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta will work closely with coach Chris Finch heading into the trade deadline, according to Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. They have a working relationship that dates back to their days with the Rockets, and their goal is to make moves that will benefit the team over the next five years.
  • Jazz guard Mike Conley recently reached out to Marc Gasol, his long-time teammate with Grizzlies, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Gasol is playing in Spain this season, but has indicated that he may have interest in returning to the NBA. “I texted him when we had no bigs. I said, ‘If you wanna come back, now’s the time,’” Conley said. “… He’s happy. I don’t know if he’ll return. But I told him the invitation is out there.”

Marc Gasol: “Door Is Not Closed” On An NBA Comeback

Marc Gasol is currently playing in Spain, but his NBA career may not be over. Gasol, who will turn 37 this month, is both an owner and player with Basquet Girona. In an interview with the Spanish publication Cadenaser, he indicated that he still has options to return to the NBA, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando.

“In the NBA they know I haven’t closed the door,” he said. “Now I wanted to do this thing (play at Girona) and they understood it, perhaps more than many people here in Spain. The door is not closed, I am not saying that I will return or that I am evaluating it, but I know that there is interest on their part … at the moment I am focused on Girona.”

A three-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year, Gasol played 13 NBA seasons before deciding to return to his native country. He was the Lakers’ starting center for most of last season, averaging 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 52 games.

However, Gasol didn’t see much playing time after Los Angeles signed Andre Drummond midway through the season. In September, he was traded to the Grizzlies, who released him five days later.

Gasol indicated that he’s not in a hurry to make a decision about his future. The Spanish League schedule runs through mid-May, and with Gasol determined to honor his commitment to Girona, it’s unlikely that he’ll be back in the NBA this season.

“The most precious thing we have is time,” he said. “We have little time and each of us decides how to invest it. to live unique experiences, I wanted to give this time to a city that supported me in difficult moments in sport, when I started my career at the age of 21.”

Marc Gasol To Play For Girona

As expected, veteran center Marc Gasol has announced that he’ll resume his playing career with Girona, a team based in Catalonia, Spain (video link). Gasol is also the owner and president of the franchise, which plays in the LEB Oro, Spain’s second league.

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 during the offseason, but added centers Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan, paving the way for Gasol’s exit. He was traded to the Grizzlies in a salary-dump deal and Memphis subsequently waived him.

Gasol’s desire to return home to Spain was a factor in his split with the Lakers. Reports all the way back in mid-September indicated that he would likely end up joining Girona, but it took him a little while to finalize that decision. FC Barcelona was among the other teams in Europe that attempted to recruit Gasol as he weighed his options.

Gasol, who will turn 37 in January, would likely have NBA suitors if he decided to return stateside. Although he’s not the perennial All-NBA candidate he once was, the veteran big man remains a savvy defender and a strong passer who can stretch the floor on offense.

However, it’s unclear whether or not Gasol intends to attempt an NBA comeback either in 2022 or further down the road. He said today that he’ll weigh his future after playing out the season with Girona.

Gironia is off to a 2-7 start in LEB Oro play so far this season, so Gasol will be looking to reverse the team’s fortunes and push for a playoff spot.

And-Ones: M. Gasol, I. Thomas, 2022 Draft, Sharpe

After reuniting with Pau Gasol last season, FC Barcelona is attempting to recruit his brother Marc Gasol, team manager Juan Carlos Navarro confirmed this week (link via Mundo Deportivo; hat tip to Sportando).

Navarro classified the team’s discussions with Gasol as “conversations” rather than “negotiations,” but suggested that the Spanish center hasn’t ruled out the possibility. Gasol, who was traded from the Lakers to the Grizzlies and then was waived during the offseason, decided to return home to Spain rather than continue his career in the NBA. It remains to be seen if he’ll play on either side of the Atlantic in 2021/22.

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

  • In a documentary-style YouTube video called ‘For The Love of The Game,’ free agent guard Isaiah Thomas says he nearly signed with an NBA team during the summer. “This offseason I worked out for three teams and got very positive feedback from every organization,” Thomas said, per Marcus Kwesi O’Mard of NESN.com. “There was one team that I was basically very close to signing (with), then it didn’t happen.” The 32-year-old is attempting to make an NBA comeback after spending just 10 days on a roster last season.
  • In the first draft of his big board for the 2022 NBA draft, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic contends that Duke forward Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren are in their own tier at the top of the ’22 class. According to Vecenie, there are a lot of question marks beyond the top two at this point.
  • Shaedon Sharpe, the No. 1 prospect in ESPN’s ranking of the 2022 recruiting class, announced on Tuesday (via Twitter) that he’ll be enrolling at Kentucky in January. Sharpe won’t be eligible for the 2022 draft because he didn’t graduate high school before the NBA’s 2021/22 season began, notes ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link).

And-Ones: M. Gasol, Leunen, B. Ferry, Overtime Elite

After big man Ekpe Udoh suffered a serious knee injury last month, Virtus Bologna head coach Sergio Scariolo reached out to Marc Gasol to gauge his interest in joining the Italian club, Scariolo confirmed this week on Italian Twitch channel Area 52 (video link). As Marc Stein of Substack relays (via Twitter), Scariolo said Gasol turned him down in an “elegant way.”

Scariolo coached Gasol on the Spanish national team and as an assistant in Toronto, so he has an existing relationship with the veteran center. However, Gasol – who was traded to Memphis and then waived in September – appears content to spend time with his family in Spain rather than joining another NBA or EuroLeague team anytime soon. There were rumors last month that Gasol would be playing for Girona, the Spanish club he owns, but that hasn’t come to fruition yet.

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

  • Former Oregon forward Maarty Leunen, who spent the last 13 seasons playing overseas in various European leagues, has announced his retirement, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Leunen was the 54th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft and has had his rights traded four times since then – most recently to the Pacers in 2019 – but never signed an NBA contract.
  • Former Washington Bullets general manager Bob Ferry, who ran the front office from 1973 to 1990, died at age 84 on Wednesday, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. The father of Danny Ferry, Bob Ferry won two Executive of the Year awards and helped Washington win the only title in franchise history in 1978.
  • Jeremy Woo of SI.com shares his impressions of the Overtime Elite’s Pro Day, including his thoughts on the program’s three most notable 2022 draft-eligible players: guard Jean Montero, wing Kok Yat, and forward Dominick Barlow.

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 Eurohoops.net. “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 CCMA.cat 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.