Bill Simmons of The Ringer has proposed the Portland Trail Blazers as an interesting trade destination for Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol. The suggestion came in collaboration with ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on the latest edition of Simmons’ podcast. The 34-year-old Gasol is a former NBA All-Star playing for a team that is entering rebuilding mode. He has one more year left on his contract after this season, a player option.
At the 51:30 mark of the 90-minute podcast, Simmons and Windhorst get into Gasol’s condition and the possibility of Memphis trading him. Windhorst suggests the Washington Wizards and the Blazers as viable options.
Simmons openly wonders what the Blazers could give up for an aging center. He brushes up against center Jusuf Nurkic, but Windhorst quickly counters with Zach Collins, then expresses doubt that the Blazers would be willing to give up the young forward. After a quick check of Gasol’s salary (he’s scheduled to make $24.1 million this season, $25.6 million in his option year), Simmons asserts that Evan Turner would have to be included in the deal. Windhorst doubles down on the “Blazers love Collins” assertion, then the two conclude with a near-profane comparison between Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and a young Arvydas Sabonis.
Gasol averaged 17.2 points in 33 minutes per game starting for the Grizzlies last season, but shot a career-low 42% from the field while doing so. He also attempted a career-high 4.4 three-pointers per game, shooting 34.1% beyond the arc. His defensive numbers were good compared to many centers, but modest in comparison to the earlier years of his career.
Trading Collins and Turner for Gasol would leave the Blazers sending out $21.9 million, taking in $24.1, for a difference of +$2.2 million. Combining salaries and luxury tax penalties for the current roster, Portland will end up paying approximately $144.2 million to field this team in 2018-19. If they executed the proposed trade, their total expenses would be approximately $150.3 million, a difference of around $6 million. The gap between salaries would increase slightly next season if Gasol picked up his option.