NBA Rumor: Marc Gasol Free Agency

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In Gasol, L.A. brings in a former All-Star to fill the void in the middle created by the departures of McGee and Dwight Howard, who signed with the Philadelphia 76ers as a free agent. Even though Davis is more than capable at center and played the position plenty during the Lakers’ postseason run, sources told ESPN that it remains a priority for L.A.’s front office to fill the roster with other reliable centers so that Davis doesn’t have to bear the brunt of the position during the arduous regular season.

If not traded, do you think Marc opts in after this season, and if he opts out, does he leave or sign elsewhere? Chris Herrington: I hinted around this in my Gasol piece, but I’ll say it plainly here: My bet is that Gasol is not traded before the deadline but does end up leaving in the summer. I think he opts out and either leaves in free agency or via a sign-and-trade. I am not hugely confident in that assessment. I’d put it at about 60 percent right now. If Gasol’s game is going to transition into a lesser role, I think he’d prefer to do so on a team with a clearer path to contention than the Grizzlies will have in the near-term. And I’m not convinced the Grizzlies really want to offer a multi-year extension, even at a far-reduced salary, for what I think they must now see needs to be a rebuild. But I know at least a couple of people whose guesses are as educated as mine who tilt the other way, who think Gasol is more likely to be back. That maybe he cares about his connection to the franchise and city too much. That maybe he doesn’t want to disrupt his life — off the floor as much as on it — that much.

Marc Gasol, Grizzlies nearing five-year deal

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 ESPN.com 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.
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