Over the holiday weekend, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies publicly aired out his frustrations with coach David Fizdale’s decision to sit him at the end of a close game against the Brooklyn Nets. Already on a long losing streak, the Grizzlies desperately needed a win and had a chance against the Nets. However, Fizdale pulled Gasol in the third quarter and he never saw the floor again.
In his time with Memphis, Fizdale’s relationship was never great with Gasol. Even so, Gasol doesn’t have a reputation as a complainer. So when he made it clear that he wasn’t happy about Fizdale’s decision to sit him in a game they needed to win, the league noticed. Long story short, questions about Gasol’s future have now been raised. For Dallas Mavericks fans, is Gasol someone the team could target?
The short answer: no, or at least not with how the Mavericks have been going about rebuilding their team. The mantra lately has been to get younger and get more athletic. Gasol fulfills neither of those requirements. Gasol is playing as well as he ever has, even becoming a solid shooter from deep. But at 32, Gasol is not a fit with the young Mavericks. If he were traded, a contender makes more sense as Gasol is past the point of his career where he would like to play for a rebuilding franchise.
On Monday, the Grizzlies fired Fizdale a mere 18 hours after Gasol shared his feelings with the media. League sources say that there was no ultimatum for the team to choose between their longtime superstar or coach despite the optics of the situation. Last summer, the Grizzlies considered Gasol to be untouchable in trade talks. Firing Fizdale seems to reinforce those feelings.
One more reason for the Mavs to balk at a Gasol trade is how much he’s owed over the next two seasons. The Spaniard is due $24 million next season and over $25 million the season after. It doesn’t make sense for the Mavericks to commit that kind of money for a player already on the wrong side of 30. Assuming it takes Dennis Smith Jr. a couple years to begin playing like the superstar Dallas hopes he turns into, Gasol would then be 34 years old.
From Memphis’s perspective, trading away Gasol may make even less sense than acquiring him does for the Mavericks. They’ve committed a large amount of salary to Mike Conley, Gasol, and former Maverick Chandler Parsons. Considering the recent trades for top-level players, the Grizzlies would be lucky to get fair value for their premier player.
However, eight-game losing streaks for teams expected to make the playoffs can make a front office jumpy. The Mavericks could help facilitate a three-way trade that nets them an asset that fulfills their requirements while landing Gasol on a team closer to contending. There are myriad ways Gasol finds himself on another team, but there’s little chance one of them ends with him in Dallas. To quote Fizdale, take that for data.
Follow Jeff Mapua on Twitter @JeffMapua