Marc Gasol, Grizzlies nearing five-year deal for $100M-plus

ByMarc Stein ESPN logo
Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Memphis Grizzlies and star center Marc Gasol continue to progress toward agreement on a five-year max contract that will cross the $100 million threshold, according to league sources.

Sources told that the exact timetable for a verbal agreement between Gasol and the Grizzlies remains unknown, but team officials -- including owner Robert Pera -- were in Spain this week to greet Gasol in his hometown of Barcelona shortly after free agency commenced at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Although the exact contract structure remains to be seen, sources said Thursday that Gasol's preference remains to do a full five-year deal with the only team he has ever played for in the NBA as opposed to a short-term deal.

As reported earlier this week, Gasol has shunned the opportunity to let interested teams court him in free agency, signaling to the rest of the league that the 30-year-old is essentially unavailable.

Players and teams can come to verbal agreements on new deals now that free agency has officially begun, but no new contracts can be formally signed until July 9, when a leaguewide moratorium on roster business is lifted.

The Grizzlies on Wednesday came to terms with high-flying big man Brandan Wright on a three-year, $18 million pact. The move adds frontcourt depth behind Gasol and Zach Randolph and helps insulate Memphis against the expected loss of Kosta Koufos in free agency.

Teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks -- all of whom had designs on making a run at the Spaniard in free agency -- abandoned all plans to pitch Gasol before free agency began.

The same goes for the San Antonio Spurs, who were widely believed to be the only team that had a shot at luring Gasol out of his Memphis comfort zone that dates back to his high school days when brotherPau Gasolwas still playing for the Grizzlies.

The Spurs instead have devoted all of their efforts to trying to lure LaMarcus Aldridge out of Portland.

Gasol, 30, was selected with the 48th overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2007 draft. In the 2008 deal that brought his brother Pauto the Lakers, Marc Gasol's rights were sent to the Grizzlies.

In seven seasons with Memphis, Gasol has developed into one of the league's premier big men, winning NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He was selected as first-team All-NBA last season, second-team All-NBA in 2014 and has twice been named an All-Star (2012, '15).

The unrestricted free agent has averaged double-figure scoring in all seven of his NBA seasons, with a career-high 17.6 points per game last season in 81 games, all starts. He was regarded as the anchor of one of the league's best defensive teams, despite not being an elite rim protector (1.6 blocks per game last season).

Gasol was an integral piece in the Grizzlies' rise, leading them to 55 wins last season and a first-round playoff victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Grizzlies have appeared in five consecutive postseasons and made it to the Western Conference finals in 2013 before bowing out in four games to the San Antonio Spurs.

In 2011, Gasol signed a four-year, $58 million deal with the Grizzlies.

Before graduating from Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, the 7-foot-1 Spaniard played professionally as a teenager for Barcelona (2003 to '06) and Akasvayu Girona (2006 to '08) before declaring for the 2007 draft.

Gasol holds career averages of 14.1 points and 7.9 rebounds in 517 games.'s Royce Young contributed to this report.

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