The championship window in Memphis has been virtually shut down after reports that center Marc Gasol is out indefinitely because of a broken right foot. The Spanish big man could even miss the remainder of the season– a worst-case scenario for the Grizzlies, who are still hoping that they get their best player back and contend for playoff contention in the tough Western Conference.
Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal confirmed the reports of the injury, which has apparently bugged the big man all season long.
With Gasol signing a lucrative five-year deal worth $113.2 million in Memphis in the last offseason, the Grizzlies are not expected to rush their big man back for this season’s campaign and would rather look at the long-term and bring him back without risk to aggravating the foot injury.
With Gasol in the line-up, the Grizzlies were seen mostly as dark horse contenders out West with teams like the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder pegged to have a better performances and chances in the upcoming NBA playoffs.
With Gasol out, perhaps for the rest of the year, these Grizzlies might not even make the playoffs.
The Grizzlies (30-22) are currently in fifth place in the Western Conference but the ninth place team– the Portland Trail Blazers (26-27) are just three and a half games back in the team standings.
How Memphis performs without Gasol after the All-Star break will most likely decide if they are good enough to make the postseason.
While Gasol’s status for the rest of the season is still up in the air, the Grizzlies might want to consider already what they want to do in case the Spanish big man is indeed out for the season.
With the trade deadline looming (Feb. 18), it is apparent that the Grizzlies may even consider giving up on the season already and think long-term; flip their veterans for valuable picks or top young prospects.
Gasol’s injury could be a blessing in disguise for the Grizzlies, who are now forced to rebuild for the future rather than get dismantled in the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
Here are Grizzlies trade scenarios, all approved by the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement trade rules and all via ESPN’s Trade Machine:
Memphis Grizzlies – Miami Heat Trade:
Jeff Green ($9.45M) for Justise Winslow ($2.48M) and Chris Andersen ($5M)
Why this NBA rumor might just happen for both teams:
Letting go of top prospect Winslow could haunt the Heat down the line but Miami is in win-now mode and Green will be very valuable for the Heat squad pegged to make the postseason in the East.
Green can start at small forward or serve as back-up to both forward positions. The Heat lacks scoring punch off the bench and Green can very well be their reliable sixth man in the playoffs. The Heat can demand to add either Matt Barnes, Courtney Lee or Tony Allen to shore up their defense on the wings.
Grizzlies add Winslow as part of their long-term core.
Memphis Grizzlies – Boston Celtics Trade:
Zach Randolph ($9.6M) and Matt Barnes ($3.5M) for Avery Bradley ($7.7M), Evan Turner ($3.45M) and Jared Sullinger ($2.56M)
Why the Cs need this NBA rumor to turn into reality before the trade deadline:
The Celtics need additional scoring punch in their team-oriented offensive system. Adding Randolph will help the squad add that scoring punch in the playoffs when the game slows down.
Barnes will immediately be part of the wing rotation and can be the extra defender they need when they face LeBron James in the postseason.
Grizzlies get a prospect in Sullinger and acquire Bradley; a combo guard that will fit nicely alongside Mike Conley or even become their starting point guard if Conley bolts in free agency.
Photo courtesy: Verse Photography/Wikimedia Commons