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NBA Free Agency 2011: 5 Teams That Have the Best Chance of Landing Marc Gasol

Joey HnathCorrespondent IMay 24, 2011

NBA Free Agency 2011: 5 Teams That Have the Best Chance of Landing Marc Gasol

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 01:  Marc Gasol #33 of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2011 at Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  NOTE
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Although this summer’s NBA free agency won’t be quite as exciting as last year’s, there will still be several good players available.

    One of those players is Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.

    Gasol had a good regular season, averaging 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.  However, he stepped it up in the playoffs.  Gasol was good for 15 points and 11.2 rebounds per contest in the postseason.

    Even though he is only a restricted free agent, meaning Memphis can match any offer by another team, he could still command a big enough contract that Memphis can’t match.

    Here are the five teams with the best chance of landing Marc Gasol.

5. Los Angeles Lakers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the second quarter while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2011 in Los Angele
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    The Lakers, the team that originally drafted Marc Gasol, could make a run at the big man this summer.

    Los Angeles will be shaking up their team this offseason, with no player except Kobe Bryant safe.

    The Lakers could work out a sign-and-trade with Memphis with one of their current big men in order to land the younger Gasol.

    Marc Gasol was traded to Memphis in the Pau Gasol deal, and there is a chance they could be traded for each other once again.

4. San Antonio Spurs

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 27:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antionio Spurs looks on against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2011 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    After getting embarrassed by Gasol’s Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs, the Spurs may look to shake things up a bit this offseason.

    Their first priority will be to re-sign Tim Duncan, but after that they could make a run at Gasol.

    In the short term, they need some fresh faces after their abysmal postseason.  More importantly, they need to find a long-term replacement for Tim Duncan.

    The Spurs could be proactive and go after Duncan’s heir this offseason and target Marc Gasol.

3. Houston Rockets

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Kevin Martin #12 of the Houston Rockets in action against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on December 20, 2010 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or u
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Rockets need to find a replacement for Yao Ming, who is an unrestricted free agent with a history of injuries.

    Gasol is the best center on the market this offseason, and Houston will make him one of their top priorities.

    With Gasol coupled with Kevin Martin and Luis Scola, the Rockets would be a playoff team once again in the Western Conference.

2. New York Knicks

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    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 23:  Amar'e Stoudemire (C) of the New York Knicks introduces new players Carmelo Anthony (L) and Chauncy Billups (R) at a press conference at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2011 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The Knicks have seven players slated to become free agents this offseason, which will free up even more money to sign a free agent.

    The Knicks’ top target could be Marc Gasol, giving them a second big man to couple with Amar'e Stoudemire.

    Gasol, along with Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups and Stoudemire, would give the Knicks a great chance at winning the Eastern Conference.

1. Memphis Grizzlies

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 15:  (L-R) Marc Gasol #33, Zach Randolph #50, O.J. Mayo #32 and Tony Allen #9 of the Memphis Grizzlies before play against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Gasol’s current team, the Memphis Grizzlies, is the most likely team to re-sign the 7’1” center.

    After their great playoff run, the Grizzlies will look to keep their nucleus intact, which means re-signing Gasol.

    Memphis has some cap space to sign Gasol, and if they have to, they will cut Shane Battier loose in order to keep Gasol in Memphis.

    All in all, the Grizzlies will match any offer and keep Gasol.

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