There are a lot of rumors swirling about this weekend regarding Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo. I’ll try to make as much sense of them as I can.
First, let’s tackle O.J. Rumors have resurfaced that Indiana and Memphis are once again swapping Mayo for F Josh McRoberts and a 1st round draft pick. This is the same deal that was on the table at the deadline last season that failed to be completed in a timely manner. If done, it would have to be a sign-and-trade deal, as McRoberts is a free agent now.
With Mayo in the final year of his contract, this could be a way of trading him while his value is still high after his great performance in the playoffs. His play for most of the season was underwhelming in a de facto contract situation, so the team might worry about him having another disappointing year and having to let him walk for nothing in the offseason.
The other thought is that the Grizzlies are loaded at the two guard positions (Conley, Vasquez, Selby, Allen, Young, Henry, Smith, and the recently signed Jeremy Pargo) and relatively slim in the frontcourt, with Randolph, Arthur, a re-signed Gasol and Haddadi their only capable players. They need another quality big man in the worst way. In McRoberts, they would get a legit big man (6’10”, 245 lbs.) with range and rebounding ability. Not a bad guy to have as your 4th big man.
Even though the rumors state that this is in an “advanced stage”, we all know that nothing is final until the contracts get signed.
The far more interesting rumor is that the Houston Rockets have offered a max deal to Marc Gasol and that they are in discussions with the Grizzlies about a sign-and-trade deal. Given what owner, Michael Heisley, has said about retaining Gasol, I find the second part of that rumor to be ridiculous. If the Rockets had truly offered their max to Gasol and he had accepted it, then the Grizzlies would have quickly matched it and we’d all be celebrating now.
However, the Commercial Appeal is reporting that the Grizzlies made an offer to Gasol on Friday, and that he hasn’t accepted or declined it yet. If that is true, then all of this becomes a little more disconcerting. The most plausible explanation is that his agent, Arn Tellem, is trying to leverage this into a full-max deal for Gasol. That’s far more palatable for Grizz fans than the thought of Gasol wanting out of Memphis entirely, of course. There has been nothing from his camp to indicate that he is unhappy in Memphis or that negotiations with the team have gone badly, so I’m leaning towards Tellem looking to score as much money as possible.
Of course, there is a chance that Houston is leaking these rumors in an effort to lure Nene’ as well. At this point, it’s all speculation and nothing concrete…so it’s a typical offseason in the NBA once again. We’ll try to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Update via NBA.com: OK, now we know the price for the talk is $55 million. That’s evidently what it will cost for Memphis to match a four-year offer sheet to center Marc Gasol from the Rockets.
David Aldridge says Heisley will match, as well.