The Toronto Raptors sit second in the East at the moment but they lack that enforcer in the paint who can really make a difference in a playoff series for them, his name is Marc Gasol. What can they move for his services, if you ask me why not offer a package centered around Jonas Valanciunas? Let’s face it the Mike Conley-Marc Gasol experiment has run its coarse, Mike Conley is out for the rest of the year and the grit and grind Grizzlies are gone since Memphis did not sign Tony Allen and Zach Randolph two players who accompanied with Gasol and Conley made the Grizzlies a dark horse contender for years in the Western Conference.
Moving Marc Gasol for sure guarantees a rebuild in Memphis, assuming Mike Conley returns to form next season the Grizzlies will probably even look to move Mike Conley and his contract just to get all that money off the books. Or maybe they re-tool and keep Conley around as the franchise player and score big in the 2018 NBA Draft with what should be a potential franchise cornerstone. The 2018 NBA Draft is said to boast 5-6 franchise players and when I think of who those players might be the names that come up are Michael Porter Jr,DeAndre Ayton,Mohamed Bamba,Luka Doncic,Trae Young, and Marvin Bagley. If you ask me the Grizzlies would not lose a step if they are able to get their hands on any of those 6 players, watch some highlights and believe me you won’t be dissapointed.
Back to Marc Gasol though who is locked in for 2 more years and will be an unrestricted free agent 2020 when he will be 34 years old. Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry are locked in for a couple more years so why not pair them with Marc Gasol who is at a similar timeline? Barring injury Marc Gasol has at least 2-3 more years as a difference maker in the NBA and with the capability to play at a superstar level. I love Jonas Valanciunas, he is a 7 footer who has a good touch around the rim and is still very young at 25 years old but if the Toronto Raptors want to be taken seriously come playoff time you go and get Marc Gasol. The Toronto Raptors have lacked playoff success for years now and Marc Gasol has had a ton of it over his 9 year career in the Western Conference battling with elite teams such as the Golden State Warriors,OKC Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs.
The transition would be seamlessly for Gasol transitioning to the Eastern Conference where no East team will boast a center of his caliber going into the playoffs. The Raptors are flourishing this season due to Demar Derozan’s improved play-making ability and improved 3 point shooting which has been a weakness for most of his career. Fred VanVleet has been a surprise off the bench providing a consistent scoring punch off the bench for the Raptors. CJ Miles,OG Anunoby, and Serge Ibaka have contributed immensely also and the Raptors have the depth to compete in the playoffs. Adding a center like Marc Gasol who can anchor the paint and get everyone involved would only lift the Toronto Raptors to new heights. Nothing against Jonas who might someday become an elite center but the time is now for Toronto to make a statement, the trade deadline is 10 days away and acquiring Marc Gasol will no doubt make them a title contender.
The combination of experience,veteran leadership, and elite offense and defense is something Masai Ujiri can’t pass on, if the Raptors want to put an end to Lebron’s Finals runs this is the way to do it. Sure the Cavaliers might have more fire-power and of course Lebron James but at the moment Tyronn Lue has his hands full trying to figure out rotations, Isaiah Thomas sat out the whole 4th quarter in their win against the Detroit Pistons yesterday and judging off his post-game interview he did not sound too delighted about it. The Toronto Raptors do not have rotation problems, everyone on the team knows their role and Marc Gasol is as unselfish a superstar as their is the NBA.
To conclude I am not saying bringing in Marc Gasol guarantees the Toronto Raptors a Finals appearance but it certainly puts them in the driver seat. The Raptors must take advantage of Lowry and Derozan’s prime years and win now, they have done a great job shoring up their bench and not giving up on their long-tenured coach Casey who will coach Team Lebron in the All-Star game and they are reaping the benefits. Bringing in Marc Gasol won’t disrupt anything, Marc has been loyal to the Memphis Grizzlies his whole career but he deserves a shot at competing for a title this season. The Grizzlies fired David Fizdale and seem to be going in a different direction, Marc Gasol looks like a misfit alongside all the young talent Memphis is putting out on the floor right now. Make it happen Masai, I’ll get my popcorn ready for the East playoffs it it happens.