Grizzlies agree to three-year, $10m contract with Pau Gasol's brother
The Grizzlies made a bold trade on draft night to acquire O.J. Mayo. Now they might have added another "lottery" pick.
Marc Gasol, the younger brother of Lakers center Pau Gasol, has agreed to a three-year deal worth $10 million, according to a league source. The contract has yet to be signed, but was said to be near completion.
Gasol, 23, is considered one of the top players in Europe. Last year the 7-foot-1 center was named MVP of the Spanish League after averaging 16.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game for Akasvayu Girona. He could join with 7-foot Darko Milicic to give the Grizzlies one of the taller frontcourts in the NBA.
Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace was not available to comment. But earlier this month he said Gasol would have been a lottery pick in the '08 draft.
"He was drafted 48th by the Lakers last year, but if he was in the draft this season he'd be deep in the lottery," Wallace said. "He's one of the elite players in Europe."
Gasol joins Mayo, the talented combo guard out of USC who was drafted No. 3 overall by the T'wolves in last Thursday's draft and then acquired in a subsequent trade for the No. 5 pick (Kevin Love) and Mike Miller, in giving Memphis two new faces for their rebuilding effort.
He also gives the Grizzlies another tangible piece to show for last February's controversial trade that sent Pau from Memphis to L.A. in exchange for Kwame Brown's expiring contract, two first-round picks and the rights to Marc Gasol and rookie point guard Javaris Crittenton.
Wallace was widely criticized for the seeming giveaway during the season, but thanks to Brown's expiring deal the Grizzlies had some $12 million under the salary cap. They were able to use some of it to sign Marc Gasol. With some $9 million still left over, Memphis could get another quality player on the free agent market or make a trade that takes back more salary in return (as the Bobcats did last summer in trading for Jason Richardson).
Gasol, who turned down more lucrative offers in Europe to come to the NBA, should feel at home in Memphis. He attended high school in the area while his brother Pau played for the Grizzlies.