NBA execs: Celtics could look to trade for Marc Gasol
The Boston Celtics finally made an offseason splash on Tuesday when Gordon Hayward announced that he is signing with them, and there is a sense that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge may not be done dealing.
With Hayward reportedly agreeing to a four-year, $128 million deal, the Celtics still have to clear some cap space. That could result in another trade or two, and multiple NBA executives told Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports that they expect Boston to inquire about Memphis Grizzlies star Marc Gasol.
One player worth keeping an eye on, two league executives told The Vertical: Memphis’ Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies lost Zach Randolph, Tony Allen could be next out the door, and if you were filling out your Western Conference playoff bracket today, Memphis probably wouldn’t be in it. Would the Grizz move the 32-year-old Gasol for a ready-made rebuilding package of players and picks? Would Boston – which has to be wary of putting together a team that would beat Cleveland but still get pulverized by Golden State – be interested? Again, worth watching.
Gasol has three years remaining on his current contract, but he can opt out of the third. He’s set to make $22.6 million next season and $24.1 million the year after that, which is actually a bargain under the new salary cap.
However, trading for Gasol wouldn’t make much sense for Boston unless Ainge is trying to knock off LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers right now. Gasol is 32, and the Celtics would have to re-sign him in two years if he opts out of his deal. He’d be more of a short-term solution than anything.
Gasol averaged 19.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season. He’s one of the best centers in basketball, and the Celtics need help at that position. Al Horford is best used as a forward, especially in Brad Stevens’ offense.
The Celtics already missed out on the biggest trade they wanted to make, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to add another starting-caliber player. If the price is right and they can make the moves to lower their payroll and add Gasol, Ainge would probably pull the trigger. That doesn’t seem likely to happen.