West: 'Best guess' is that Gasol will stay with Grizzlies
Posted: Wednesday January 24, 2007 2:34PM; Updated: Wednesday January 24, 2007 5:22PM
Pau Gasol (right) has made it known that he wants to play for a contender.
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Memo to the Bulls, Nets, Celtics and any other team hoping to steal Pau Gasol from the Grizzlies: Keep dreaming.
"The one thing I would like to make entirely clear is that it's going to take some kind of incredible deal for us to trade him," Grizzlies president Jerry West said Wednesday. "Our owner has said if we can accommodate him and satisfy our needs, we'd consider it. But if people think that there's a fire sale going on here, that's not the case."
Gasol created waves around the NBA this week when it was reported that he had talked to Memphis owner Michael Heisley about a trade. While the 7-foot All-Star forward never issued an ultimatum, he apparently told the owner he wanted to play for a contender. With the Grizzlies struggling on the court and in the midst of a sale, Heisley said he was open to accommodating him. Since then rumors have been flying that Chicago, New Jersey and Boston, among others, have made serious pitches for Gasol.
In a phone interview Wednesday, West said he had received a few calls from general managers interested in talking trade. He acknowledged having talked to the Bulls, specifically, but he said nothing "definitive" had come out of the conversation. As for reports that he had asked the Bulls for Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, P.J. Brown and Chicago's first-round pick, West wouldn't comment on specifics.
"Obviously they have some players attractive to us," he said. "But we're not going to do something that doesn't make sense for us ... and that goes for not just the Bulls. That goes for any team."
The Nets desperately need a big man, but don't appear to have the assets necessary to pull off a deal. It is doubtful the Grizzlies would take Vince Carter, especially since he can opt out of his contract after the season. The Celtics have a budding young talent in Al Jefferson and a first-round pick, but no All-Star types (other than Paul Pierce) or expiring contracts.
Either way, West said people should not make too much out of Gasol's recent conversation with the owner. He blamed it on frustration over the team's lack of success, and said he wouldn't be surprised if the whole matter blew over.
"This came as a surprise to me," West said. "I didn't realize it. I think it's frustration [on Pau's part]. The last three or four years here have been great for him. He had a great summer with his national team. Winning is a lot easier than having a team that hasn't performed the way it should."
That's why West for now is willing to field offers and be patient. He might even wait until this summer. The bottom line, he said, is the Grizzlies won't be forced into a desperation move.
"My best guess is nothing will happen," he said. "It wouldn't surprise me if he finished his career here. Period."