Among the teams that could make a move for Marc Gasol are Toronto, Cleveland, Boston, and Portland. The Celtics and Cavaliers are seen as the class of the East, with Toronto a notch below. That could set up a potential bidding war that Memphis could use to its advantage in landing the best package for Gasol, 32, a former defensive player of the year. Industry sources tell me that the Raptors are open to moving center Jonas Valanciunas and have young players the Griz might be interested in pursuing, including Jakob Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira. Gasol would be a marked upgrade for a “now” team that needs to get to a finals with core stars DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
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Maintaining that self-belief has been crucial, especially over the last 12 months. Like the rest of us, he’s seen his name pop up in trade rumours. He’s heard people speculate about his position becoming obsolete in the ever-evolving NBA. Has it motivated him? “That is not motivating me at all,” he insisted. “I know what is motivating me – my family, I’ve got my teammates motivating me, the front office who are [telling me] what they want to do motivates me. I understand people got to talk, people are meant to talk, it’s never going to be different these days with social media and all that stuff, I see some [expletive] things but I just don’t give a [expletive]. I know what I’ve got to do, I know what my role is on this team and the team is the most important thing.”
Toronto called dangling Jonas Valanciunas before the deadline, and Sacramento and Phoenix also expressed strong interest in Drummond in June, per sources. There’s enough grease to ultimately move the wheels and find Drummond a new home before the season starts, and he’s almost certainly not finishing out the final four years of his five-year, max contract in Detroit.
It’s no secret that the Raptors have been shopping the 7-footer for the better part of the last six months. It’s been widely reported and Ujiri made little attempt to hide it on Tuesday. “Every player, from all the processes that we went through this summer, every player’s name was in trade talks,” Ujiri insisted. “That’s me being black and white. The players know, the agents know.” “I’ll be transparent,” he continued later, “there were some scenarios where if we’re trying to create [salary cap] space and do some other things in some of the other scenarios we had that maybe we made a move [with Valanciunas]. But with this team now we’re very comfortable.”
They spoke with several teams and a couple of them were willing to simply absorb the salary, according to sources, but the Raptors were reluctant to give Valanciunas away without recouping any value. They had drafted him fifth overall in 2011 and have spent five years’ worth of time and resources developing him. Most importantly, while his market value has crashed, he still has value to them, even in a situational role. He’s a nice luxury to have, assuming you can afford that luxury.
Jonas Valanciunas is still very much a part of the Raptors’ future plans, according to team president Masai Ujiri. Sporting News NBA insider Sean Deveney reported Monday that Toronto has been trying unsuccessfully since the trade deadline to find a taker for the 7-foot center, who’d fallen out of favor in the offseason remake of the team’s rotation players. Ujiri responded with a vote of confidence in the big man.
“We’re very comfortable with JV. We’re not trying to give JV away,” Ujiri told reporters during a press conference Tuesday to introduce newly acquired veteran C.J. Miles. “I’ll be transparent, there were some scenarios where if we’re trying to create space and do some other things in some of the other scenarios we had that maybe we make a move, but with this team now we’re very comfortable.”
Toronto held conversations with Detroit and New Orleans at the deadline and again during the draft, sources told SN. Sacramento, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland and Atlanta also kicked the tires, but talks never materialized.
Toronto has sought to deal Valanciunas since the February trade deadline. They’d had conversations with Detroit and New Orleans then, sources said, and continued to have discussions around Valanciunas at the draft, but talks with the likes of Sacramento, Phoenix, Charlotte, Portland and Atlanta did not get very far.
Valanciunas could wind up being eclipsed in Toronto, even without a deal. One of the aims of the offseason for the Raptors was to both unload some salary and clear up playing time for some younger, hungrier players the Raptors have been developing. Among those are second-year men Jakob Poeltl and Pascal Siakam, and both had very good showings this summer.
Michael Grange: A couple of league sources have told me that Raps are looking into moving Jonas Valanciunas and the No.23 pick.
Trading Jonas Valanciunas loomed as the alternate cost-cutting measure, but no one needs a center. The most likely Valanciunas deals would return someone else’s unwanted big fella.
Kevin Arnovitz: Valanciunas was in some trade talks.
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March 20, 2018 | 5:14 am EDT Update
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is targeting a return to action on Friday against the Atlanta Hawks, the team’s next opponent, league sources told ESPN. The two-time MVP will have his right ankle re-evaluated on Tuesday. If the evaluation reveals enough progress and there are no unforeseen setbacks from this point to Friday, the sharpshooter intends to play after missing the past five games, sources said.
Marc Gasol said he will have questions about the direction of the team after the offseason. How will you reassure him that Memphis remains the best fit for him at this stage of his career? Chris Wallace: Marc is having a terrific career here, both individually – being a multiple All-Star, being defensive player of the year, the All-NBA recognition. And he’s had tremendous team success. So, I don’t think one off year from the team success side tarnishes what he’s achieved or necessarily is going to be the norm going forward for the Grizzlies. This happens to all sorts of teams, where you have not as good a year as where you expect to be. But that doesn’t mean you can’t jump right back in and be successful again next year and that’s what our goal is. And he’s a big part of that.
Shumpert is almost certain to opt in for next season. Having dealt with foot and knee injuries, this is not the time for Shumpert to test free agency when he has $11 million guaranteed for next season, even if he’s not a part of the Kings’ long-term plans. I’m intrigued by what Shumpert might add. He’s only 27 and has shown he can play in pressure situations, having been a part of Cleveland’s 2016 NBA championship team. Shumpert will be motivated to show the rest of the league he is healthy and that he can play a key role on a team.
Donatas Urbonas: Gudaitis confirmed he met with Cavaliers representatives in Milano. They invited Gudaitis to work out in Cleveland upcoming summer. Gudaitis told his priority is National Team and FIBA 19 qualifiers. But if everything is ok with the schedule, he’ll come to Cleveland
Now that you’re in New York, this is a totally different market. How have you felt about the way the city has embraced you? Michael Beasley: Honestly, I couldn’t ask for anything better. For the city and fans to embrace not only the way I play but who I am as much as they did – it feels great to be able to be yourself and be accepted. I thank the city forever for that. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t win as much as we wanted to this year.
Players like DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Love have talked about that anxiety. Do you think that has helped others be more open with their own struggles? Michael Beasley: Hats off to those guys, man. More people than you think go through that. I go through it. It took me awhile to realize it because we’re raised to believe that it’s an embarrassing thing. It’s definitely inspiring for them to be honest about what they are experiencing. They opened up the floodgates, they opened up the doors, for the next great NBA player or even the next great scientist. The next shy kid with anxiety can break out of their shell because of this.
I watched your interview with Taylor Rooks on SNY where you talked about parenting your daughter, painting your nails. I thought that was super cool. Michael Beasley: [Laughs] Listen, man. I lost my hood card because I’ve got paint on my nails, bro. So that’s good to hear. My four-year-old will be five in April. Not much will change in those years. I think it’s cool. People should be themselves no matter what anyone says and how it feels. Just be comfortable with being yourself.