New addition Marc Gasol is fitting in with the Raptors, though this could be his only season with the club. The 34-year-old has a player option on his deal worth approximately $25.6MM for the 2019/20 campaign and he has yet to make a decision on his future.
“We’ll see when we get there,” Gasol said (via Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report). “It would be pointless for me to say anything now. Not because I’m hiding anything, but I would be lying, it’s just impossible to know. We’ll have to see what makes sense for everyone. You can’t weigh things on a scale before you have everything to weigh. I much rather focus on the present and make the most of it.”
The center didn’t ask for his trade to the Raptors but the team has grown on him.
“It’s really well-run,” Gasol said. “All first class.”
Gasol still misses Memphis, the place where he began his NBA career as a second-round prospect. The Grizzlies weren’t in a position to compete at a championship level when they dealt his brother, Pau, to the Lakers and acquired him in exchange for a package that originally brought the younger Gasol to Memphis. They likely won’t sniff contention in the near future, which was part of the reason they made the decision to send Gasol north at this year’s trade deadline.
According to Weitzman, Gasol and Mike Conley assured Grizzlies owner Robert Pera that they could turn around the franchise’s fortunes with some help. However, the team was on the verge of missing the playoffs for the second straight season and Pera could clearly see the writing on the wall. A few weeks later—just hours before the trade deadline—Pera called Gasol to tell him that the Grizzlies and Raptors had completed a deal.
Raptors GM Masai Ujiri also spoke with Gasol on February 7. The executive told Gasol that Toronto was “going for it” – in reference to a title – and he believed Gasol could help.
Toronto’s path to a championship has never been clearer. LeBron James is no longer in their way. Kawhi Leonard, who is reportedly warming up to the idea of staying in Toronto, is arguably having the best postseason for any player in franchise history.
Gasol’s arrival gave the Raptors something they were missing. Among other things, it gave them a big man who could battle in the post with the likes of Sixers star Joel Embiid. “[Gasol has] changed who we are,” coach Nick Nurse said. Gasol recognizes the impact that he can make without being the core of the offense.
“We’re not talking about something negative here,” Gasol said of being traded. “As you get older, you understand that this is a game, that we’re fortunate to have a great life. It’s just something impactful.”
Published at Tue, 07 May 2019 22:40:33 +0000