An NBA trade involving Marc Gasol could be on the horizon and the Celtics will surely be in the mix for his services with Danny Ainge having long coveted the slick-passing big man.
The current narrative suggests that Gasol will close out his NBA career with the Grizzlies after Memphis fired coach David Fizdale after a spat with Gasol. It surely seemed like in a “he goes or I go” situation, the Grizzlies chose the player in Gasol.
But instead it very well could be the first step in the Grizzlies completely cleaning house.
“I don’t think [the Grizzlies] are done making changes,” an anonymous NBA executive told The Sporting News. “They could still move Gasol, they could still go into a rebuilding situation, but it would be harder if Gasol was saying he wants out. They have had plenty of offers for Gasol, and they have a couple of months to sort out whether they pull the trigger. But don’t be surprised if they do, even after this.”
In terms of pure fit, the Celtics are the favorite to land Gasol. Gasol would fit brilliantly in Brad Stevens’ offense and would provide the Celtics with a legit 7-footer. Gasol is listed at 7-foot-1 and the Celtics do not currently have a player over 7 feet.
The Celtics were annihilated on the glass Monday night by Andre Drummond, who grabbed a whopping 22 boards in addition to his 26 points. They had similar issues with Giannis Antetokounmpo in their home opener as the Greek Freak pulled down 13 boards in addition to his 37 points. The C’s could certainly see Drummond and/or Giannis in the NBA playoffs next spring, and it’s clear that Ainge will attempt to upgrade up front. The question now is, just how much of an upgrade is needed?
The Celtics would need to get mighty creative to land Gasol in a trade this season. Trading players like Marcus Morris (2 years, $5 million), Marcus Smart (2 years, $4.5 million), and Terry Rozier (2 years, $1.9 million) wouldn’t even approach equaling Gasol’s massive salary (3 years, $22.6 million). The only way something like this would work money-wise is if Ainge was interested in surrendering Al Horford (3 years, $27.7 million) or one of his young guns like Jayson Tatum (4 years, $5.6 million) or Jaylen Brown (3 years, $4.9 million). All of those players seem pretty close to untouchable right now.
If the Celtics traded for Gasol they would have great issues with cap flexibility moving forward, which makes a trade this season unlikely. Here is what Forbes wrote about the Celtics and a potential Gasol trade this week: “The Celtics, off to a league-best 18-3 start, have been linked to Gasol in the past. He’d be what they need on the back line for rim protection and would fit in perfectly with Brad Stevens’ offense. But they might not want to mess with a good thing and are said to still have their eyes primarily focused on Anthony Davis, of the New Orleans Pelicans, if he ever becomes available.”