Cornerstone center Marc Gasol’s decade-long tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies appears to be nearing its end. After an inspiring start to the 2018-19 regular season, the Grizzlies have dropped six of their last seven games to fall out of the Western Conference postseason picture. Memphis’ slide has triggered speculation regarding Gasol’s availability.
On Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that the Grizzlies are in the early stages of entertaining deals for two of their long-time starters. According to the report, both Gasol and Mike Conley have been made available in trade talks prior to the deadline.
The Grizzlies descent down the standings has coincided with the Wizards’ rise in the Eastern Conference. Despite having star point guard John Wall on the sidelines, coach Scott Brooks’ squad have secured victories in four of their last five outings. Things are far from fixed for the Wizards, but a recent run of positive results could make them surprise buyers in February.
Here is a look at one potential deal between the Grizzlies and Wizards that could work for both teams.
Gasol and Otto Porter Jr. Swap Locations
For the Grizzlies, they get a solid two-way wing in Otto Porter Jr. to partner with Jaren Jackson Jr. through the 2020-21 season. Yes, Porter’s contract is steep, but it will give Memphis a strong presence on both ends of the court in a market that has often struggled to attract top-tier talent.
After failing to acquire Kelly Oubre from the Wizards earlier this season due to a miscommunication regarding players involved in the trade, the Grizzlies would finally receive a perimeter player worthy of building around. Porter is only 25 years old and has proven to be efficient in a variety of roles on offense.
For the Wizards, they will add a veteran player at a position of need with Gasol. Dwight Howard has barely played and Washington found success after inserting Trevor Ariza into the lineup. Along with bolstering their rotation with a proven player, the Wizards would free themselves from Porter’s long-term contract. By reducing payroll, they would give themselves room to navigate future roster decisions with more flexibility.
Losing Porter would increase the Wizards’ dependence on Ariza, but adding Gasol would bolster their production in the post. If the partnership proves beneficial for both parties, there is a reasonable chance that Gasol would pick up his $25.6 million player option for next season.
Marc Gasol’s Stats Hit a Decline
Over the span of his career, Gasol has averaged 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. At the age of 33, his scoring has dipped from what we’ve seen over recent years. After averaging 17.2 points or more in three of the past four seasons, he’s sitting with a mark of just 15.3 points per through 46 games in 2018-19.
One other thing that jumps out is Gasol’s decline in field goal percentage dating back to the 2015-16 season. The former second-round pick made 49.4 percent of his attempts the season prior to that but hit a decline in three consecutive seasons to follow. It culminated in Gasol shooting 42.0 percent from the field last year and just 43.4 percent currently.