Toronto’s Marc Gasol Preparing for Emotional First Matchup Against Former Memphis Grizzlies Team

Marc Gasol is preparing for an emotional first…

The 35-year-old Spanish professional basketball player, currently playing for the Toronto Raptors, is mentally preparing to face-off against his former team.

Marc Gasol,

Gasol played for parts of 11 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, going to three All-Star Games with the team’s jersey on his back, earning two All-NBA selections there and a Defensive Player of the Year award.

And now, he’ll play against his former team for the first time.

The Grizzlies face Gasol and the Raptors on Sunday. It’ll be the first game between the clubs since Gasol was traded to Toronto in February 2019 — a move that helped the Raptors win last season’s NBA championship.

Gasol said facing Memphis would be emotional.

“I got there when I was 16 years old. It was my first time out of Spain,” said Gasol, who still owns his Memphis home. “I started high school there as a teenager and left as a father of two kids. … My ties to the city and my roots go pretty deep and my love for the people there, what they mean and the franchise, it’s forever.”

Gasol helped Memphis make the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons including the 2013 run to the Western Conference finals. He’s the Grizzlies’ all-time leader for minutes played, field goals made, free throws made and attempted, rebounds, blocks and triple-doubles and is second in points — 49 behind Mike Conley.

The Raptors were supposed to have played back-to-back games against Memphis this season, going there on March 28 and then playing host to the Grizzlies March 30. Those games were called off due to the season suspension caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Obviously it’s a little bittersweet that we couldn’t play in the city of Memphis, to get that love and feel that Iove from the fans,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “But I’m sure he’ll be happy to see some familiar faces and a lot of the people that he spent a lot of time with over the years.”

Marc Gasol Makes History While Leading Spain to FIBA World Cup Championship

Marc Gasol is celebrating a rare feat…

The 34-year-old Spanish professional basketball player got to bask in a championship celebration for the second time in three months — and this time, he did it for his country. Tournament MVP Ricky Rubio scored 20 points, Sergio Llull added 15 and Spain won the FIBA World Cup for the second time by topping Argentina 95-75 on Sunday.

Marc Gasol

“We weren’t the most talented team,” Rubio said. “We weren’t the bigger team. Put anything you want, but we were the team with the biggest heart and we showed it tonight and we showed it during the whole tournament.”

Gasol scored 14 for the winners, who never trailed and added this crown to the one they claimed in 2006. And for him, 2019 will go down as a year the likes of which few others have enjoyed.

The Toronto Raptors center becomes the second player to win an NBA title and a FIBA world gold medal in the same year, joining Lamar Odom — who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers and USA Basketball in 2010. Gasol also became the 19th player to win either an NBA or WNBA crown along with a gold medal, either of the Olympic or World Cup variety, in the same year.

The first 18 all did it for the U.S.

This time, vamos Espana!

“NBA champion and a World Cup champion as well,” Gasol said. “What can I say? How does it sound to you? I feel very fortunate to be in this position and be able to play this game and help these guys be part of history of Spanish basketball.”

Llull and Rudy Fernandez — the team captain, who initially got to accept the Naismith Trophy — went to cut down the nets shortly after the final buzzer. Gasol carried the game ball to the gold-medal ceremony, and Spanish fans wept in the stands during the national anthem.

Gabriel Deck scored 24 points for Argentina (8-1), which got off to a slow start and played uphill the rest of the way. Luis Scola was held to eight points, shooting 1-for-10 from the floor.

“We’re sad right now. We’re very sad,” Scola said. “But I feel confident, in hours, we’ll be able to look back and be very proud. They just played better than us. They were better. They deserved to win. They were the better team in the game and the tournament.”

Spain led 43-31 at intermission, after putting together a 14-2 run to open the game and a 17-1 run later in the half.

“This is basketball,” Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. “If you play better than the other team, you win the game. And Spain was the best team today.”

Scola, who at 39 years old was still Argentina’s best player throughout the tournament, didn’t get on the score sheet until he made a pair of free throws with 2:57 left in the third quarter. But they only cut Spain’s lead to 19, and by then the Argentinian fans who stood, sang and chanted for much of the game were relatively quiet.

The day belonged to Spain.

And the year belongs to Gasol.

“It’s unbelievable,” Gasol said.

Joining Rubio on the all-tournament team were Gasol, Scola, France’s Evan Fournier and Serbia’s Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Marc Gasol Traded to the Toronto Raptors

Marc Gasolis headed to the Great White North.

The Memphis Grizzlies have traded the 24-year-old Spanish professional basketball player to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jonas ValanciunasDelon WrightCJ Miles and a 2024 second-round draft pick.

Marc Gasol

“Marc brings significant playoff experience to our team, which along with his savviness and leadership skills really helps position us for our ultimate postseason goal,” Raptors president Masai Ujirisaid Thursday night. “We look forward to welcoming Marc to our city and team.”

Head coach Nick Nursesaid he believes Gasol’s experience will give the Raptors “a settling force” come playoff time.

“I think that there’s a lot of positives with a guy like Gasol, and I think most of them come with being battle-tested,” Nurse said. “I think we all know that those playoffs can get wild and woolly, and he’s a guy that’s been through them many times.”

Gasol is averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and a career-high 4.7 assists (which ranks second among NBAcenters, trailing only Nikola Jokic‘s 7.7). He is the Grizzlies’ franchise leader in points, rebounds, blocks and field goals made.

Gasol has been with the Grizzlies for 11 seasons, which was tied with Russell Westbrook for the fourth-longest tenure with one franchise among active players. 

A three-time All-Starand the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, Gasol has a 15 percent trade bonus that is valued at $1.28 million. The amount of his bonus (if not waived) will be applied to his $24.1 million salary.

Gasol also has a $25.6 million player option for next season.

Gasol Named EuroBasket MVP After Leading Spain to the Gold

Pau Gasol has propelled Spain into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro…

The 35-year-old Spanish basketball star had a double-double as Spain cruised past Lithuania 80-63 on Sunday to take the EuroBasket title.

Pau Gasol

Gasol, the European Basketball Championship MVP, helped Spain earn its third title in the last four tournaments after having to settle for bronze two years ago.

“It was an incredible championship,” Gasol said. “We went through struggles early on but the team responded well, and with our backs to the wall, we understood that we had to play better defense.”

With Spain’s King Felipe VI and tennis star Rafael Nadal in the stands, the final was a one-sided affair as the Spaniards opened a 13-point lead in the first quarter and were never really threatened.

Gasol finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots, one steal and no turnovers to earn the tournament’s MVP award.

Pau Gasol

“It’s of special significance to play this well at this stage of my career after all I’ve accomplished,” said Gasol, the Chicago Bulls center who has two NBA championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers. “It is something I will remember until the end of my life.

The victory completed a turnaround for Spain, which came to the tournament without Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Juan Carlos Navarro and Ricky Rubio and lost two of its first three games.

But with Gasol dominating, Spain raised its game when it mattered and looked impressive throughout the knockout stage. Gasol put his stamp on the final early, scoring eight straight points for Spain to lead 19-6.

That helped the team overcome the loss of influential guard Rudy Fernandez halfway into the third quarter when he was fouled by Robertas Javtokas. Fernandez fell to the ground, was helped off the floor while holding his left hip and did not return.

Spain and Lithuania booked direct slots to next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Spain won the silver medal in the past two Olympics, and Gasol said he would be around once again if his body holds up.

Spain guard Sergio Rodriguez joined Gasol in the tournament’s all-star team.

Gasol & the Memphis Grizzlies Agree to Five-Year Max Deal Worth $110 million

Marc Gasol will keep walking (and dribbling) in Memphis…

The 30-year-old Spanish professional basketball player and the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to a five-year max contract worth an estimated $110 million, according to ESPN sources.

Marc Gasol

The deal includes a player option that would allow Gasol to opt out and become a free agent after the fourth year of the contract, according to sources.

The exact monetary value of the deal, which was agreed to Monday, will be determined by the league’s salary cap.

Gasol, as previously reported by ESPN, shunned the opportunity to let interested teams court him in free agency, signaling to the rest of the league ‎that he essentially was unavailable to everyone except Memphis.

‎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.

Players and teams can come to verbal agreements on deals, but no contracts can be formally signed until Thursday, when a leaguewide moratorium on roster business is lifted.

Gasol was selected with the 48th overall pick by the Lakers in the 2007 draft. In the 2008 deal that brought his brother Pau Gasol to 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 he has twice been named an All-Star (2012, ’15).

Gasol 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 to 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.

Anthony Signs Lucrative Five-Year Deal to Stay with the New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony has made a decision in the knick of time…

The 30-year-old half-Puerto Rican basketball star has signed a new five-year contract with the New York Knicks worth $124 million, $5 million less than the maximum, according to ESPN New York.

Carmelo Anthony

Anthony’s deal also includes a rare no-trade clause and has an early termination option after the fourth year, according to league sources.

He was eligible to sign a contract for a maximum of $129 million but agreed to a deal worth $5 million less to give the Knicks more financial flexibility to pursue free agents in future summers.

Anthony will make a maximum salary of $22.458 million in the first year of his contract.

League sources told ESPN New York that Anthony’s contract will increase “slightly” in the second year but less than the maximum increase of 7.5 percent.

This is pivotal for the Knicks because they hope to attract big-name free agents in the summer of 2015. Anthony’s taking less than the maximum in the second year of his contract will give them extra money to do so.

Anthony also has an early termination option after the fourth year of his contract, sources say. That will allow Anthony to test free agency in the summer of 2018 if he so chooses.

In addition, league sources confirmed Anthony has a no-trade clause in his contract, which is rare in the NBA.

Anthony first mentioned in February the possibility that he would accept a contract worth less than the maximum in free agency.

“Without a doubt,” Anthony said while in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend. “Any opportunity I have to build that up in New York, I’d do it. I told people all the time, always say, ‘If it takes me taking a pay cut, I’ll be the first one on [Knicks owner] Mr. [James] Dolan‘s steps saying take my money and let’s build something strong over here.'”

The Knicks hope to be able to attract top-level talent to New York in the summer of 2015, when players such as Rajon Rondo, Marc Gasol and Roy Hibbert may test the market.

Four More Years for the Grizzlies’ Gasol…

NBA star Marc Gasol has no plans to leave his Memphis home in the near future…

The 26-year-old Spanish ‘baller has signed a new $58 million contract with the Memphis Grizzlies to stay with the team for the next four years.

Marc Gasol

“I didn’t see myself other than with this team, whether it was going to be for the long term or one year,” said the the 7-foot-1 center after signing his contract extension. “I definitely thought I would be here this year.”

There was a lot on speculation that Gasol would play out the final year of his Grizzlies contract and become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. And, team officials had vowed all along to match any contract offer from another team.

Now that Gasol is staying put, the Grizzlies will keep the core of the team that made the Western Conference semifinals last season intact.

Gasol helped lead the Grizzlies to their best season in franchise history. Memphis, which had never even won a playoff game before last season, defeated the Western Conference’s top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the opening round, then went to a deciding seventh game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“In the short three years here, Marc has advanced through the ranks and become one of the top centers, not just the top young centers, but the top centers overall in the NBA,” says Memphi general manager Chris Wallace.

Last season, Gasol averaged 11.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and a career-high 2.5 assists and 1.68 blocks in the regular season. But he averaged 15.0 points and 11.2 rebounds in the postseason.