Marc Gasol basically grew up in Memphis. While big brother Pau was making his mark as a young prospect with the Grizzlies in the early 2000s, Marc was spending his awkward high school years at Lausanne Collegiate School in a Memphis suburb. As fate would have it, the Lakers drafted him in 2007 and promptly included him in a trade package to Memphis that landed Pau.
From then on, Marc went on to define that epoch of Grizzlies basketball. But his time in Memphis came to an end last February when he was sent to Toronto in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, and C.J. Miles, a deal that eventually helped seal the Raptors’ first championship in franchise history.
According to Gasol, however, he never wanted to be traded. Over the years, he had multiple opportunities to either leave in free agency or demand a trade, but time and time again, he remained loyal to Memphis, almost to a fault. If he would’ve had it his way, he never would’ve ended up in Toronto last season, but viewed through the clarity of a championship lens, he now sees the folly of his ways.
Via Alex Madrid of Eurohoops.net:
“There have been few players that haven’t been traded over the years in the NBA. If it had been depended on me, I wouldn’t have been traded. I always thought I could reverse the situation there [in Memphis] and bring the team to the top. But, thank God, they ignored me,” Gasol said to reporters in the Antiga Fabrica Estrella Damm in Barcelona, per the Europa Press news agency.
Had he stayed in Memphis, Gasol would’ve faced the choice of exercising his player option — worth more than $25 million — to remain in Memphis for yet another difficult losing season, or try his hand on the open market, where at 34 and on the downswing of his career it’s unlikely he would’ve commanded a fraction of that value. Sometimes, it takes forces beyond our control to prevent us from working against our own interests.