NBA Free Agency: What Will It Take to Get Marc Gasol Out of Memphis?

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NBA Free Agency: What Will It Take to Get Marc Gasol Out of Memphis?
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Marc Gasol has had quite a coming-out party this season—so much so, that it led people to wonder whether the infamous trade that netted the Lakers his older brother Pau was really that much of a fleecing after all.

That's an incredible turnaround for the stronger, less athletic and refined Gasol, who is a major part of the Memphis Grizzlies' run in these NBA playoffs.

As a whole, Memphis is looking like a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. Its nucleus of Gasol, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo are all under 30 years old. With the exception of Gasol, they're all signed through next year after Randolph agreed to a four-year extension at about $17 million per a couple weeks back. Conley, Gay and Randolph are signed through at least 2014.

Sam Young, Xavier Henry, Greivis Vasquez and Darrell Arthur have also been key contributors and are also locked up for 2011-12—that is, assuming the front office picks up Young's $1 million team option for next season (hint: they will).

That leaves Gasol, whose presence down low gives Memphis solid defense and efficient scoring, making him a perfect counterpart to Randolph and his wide variety of low-post moves.

The Grizzlies will look to lock Gasol up; given his qualifying offer next year at an affordable $4.5 million, that's certainly a possibility. Unfortunately for Memphis, he's likely to get a number of offers from teams around the league.

I've written previously that Gasol is probably out of the conversation for my hometown Washington Wizards, who are still burdened by Rashard Lewis' albatross of a contract for at least the next year. But that doesn't mean teams like the Cavaliers and Nets won't throw money at the seven-footer.

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