Sunday, January 4, 2015

Marc Gasol says he’ll ‘listen to everybody’ in free agency, won’t rule out signing with Lakers


Marc Gasol has become one of the game’s best big men, a legitimate All-Star who is capable of dominating on both ends of the floor against even the most elite level of competition.

He’s also expected to create quite a frenzy this summer, when his contract in Memphis is up and he’ll test the market as an unrestricted free agent.
Marc Gasol has become one of the game’s best big men, a legitimate All-Star who is capable of dominating...

Gasol will receive a max contract no matter where he signs, and can receive an extra year of compensation by simply staying with the Grizzlies. But he insists no decision about his future has been made, and plans to listen to any and all offers — and that includes the one that will almost assuredly come from the Lakers.

    I haven’t weighed anything yet,” said Gasol, who will wait until talking with his agent, Arn Tellum, this offseason. “We’ll sit down and have a human eye-to-eye conversation. We’ll see what we’re looking for the next four or five years of my life with this team, different teams and my family. Whatever decision I make, it would be the best.”

    Will the Lakers become one of those candidates?

    “I won’t say no to anything right now,” Gasol said in an interview with Los Angeles News Group. “If it’s presented to me, I’ll think about it. If not, I won’t.”

The only reason the Lakers even enter the conversation is because Marc’s brother Pau Gasol was traded from Memphis to Los Angeles in 2008 (in a deal that sent Marc to the Grizzlies), and played six more seasons there while managing to win two NBA titles.

And the Lakers, of course, will have the cap space to sign Gasol to a four-year max deal if that’s the route he ends up choosing.

But the reality of him leaving Memphis (and leaving well over $20 million in guaranteed money on the table) is extremely difficult to envision. The Grizzlies are a perennial contender in the very competitive Western Conference, and the Lakers are scrambling to rebuild, and will be a completely faceless franchise once Kobe Bryant retires at the conclusion of next season.

L.A. has a storied tradition and perhaps the best market in the league to offer superstars who would be willing to come in free agency. But until the Lakers once again have a winning team there that will be capable of competing for championships once a star-level talent is added, they will remain a less desirable destination for players like Gasol, who are already winning and can earn a lot more money by simply staying in their current situation.