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Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Trade Deadline: Four trade destinations for Marc Gasol

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Marc Gasol (NBA Getty Images)

Is Marc Gasol's time with the Memphis Grizzlies coming to an end?

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Grizzlies began listening to trade offers for Gasol and Mike Conley weeks ago in the hopes of reshaping the roster around Jaren Jackson Jr.. If Memphis can't find a destination for one or both of them before today's trade deadline, its search could continue into the offseason.

After looking at five trade destinations for Conley, let's take a look at four teams - plus three honourable mentions - that would make sense for Gasol.

Toronto Raptors

As reported by Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated, the Raptors had offered a potential Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas for Gasol and Conley swap.

Under the assumption that Serge Ibaka would remain the Raptors' starting centre to keep the current rotation intact, Gasol would quickly become the best backup centre in the NBA. The 7-foot-1 Spaniard would take Valanciunas' spot as a scoring threat to Toronto's frontcourt while providing a reliable outlet for defensive matchups that are out of Ibaka's size-range.

He'd also help space the floor as a big man who shoots 34.4 percent from 3-point land on 4.2 attempts per game this season, adding a bit of versatility to the Raptors' group of bigs.

Gasol would add another veteran presence to the locker room and has plenty of postseason experience, appearing in 59 playoff games during his time in Memphis.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets are one of many teams in the Eastern Conference hoping to make the playoffs this season. They would sneak in if the season ended today, but they're only a couple of games ahead of the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic in the standings.

The main reason for Charlotte's success has been Kemba Walker. Not only does he lead all Eastern Conference guards in scoring, he's carrying one of the biggest loads in the entire league - Walker trails only James Harden, Joel Embiid, Devin Booker, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zach LaVine in usage rate on the season.

Gasol isn't the scorer he once was, but he's still one of the more talented offensive players at his position. He's consistently among the league leaders in post scoring, he's extended his range out to the 3-point line in recent years and he's averaging a career-high in assists this season.

That would make him an immediate upgrade over Charlotte's existing bigs. Gasol would move into the starting lineup and help take some much-needed pressure off of Walker.

The Hornets wouldn't have a problem matching salaries in a trade for Gasol. It would all just depend on whether or not the Grizzlies value any of Charlotte's assets, beit Malik Monk, Nicolas Batum or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

L.A. Clippers

The Clippers weren't expected to make the postseason entering this season, but here they are, in the playoff picture ahead of the trade deadline.

One of the deeper teams in the league, the one position the Clippers don't have much depth is at centre. Montrezl Harrell has worked his way into the Sixth Man of the Year conversation with his play, but they aren't getting much out of Marcin Gortat, who starts every game for them but sees less than 20 minutes of court time.

Gasol was absorb all of Gortat's minutes if the Clippers were to acquire him, which would give Doc Rivers 48 minutes of quality centre play. He'd also give Rivers the option of playing him alongside Harrell down the stretch of games, as Gasol is a good enough shooter to overcome Harrell's weaknesses.

The reason the Clippers might be hesitant to trade for Gasol is that he has a player option for $25.6 million next season. If he were to opt-in, it would eat into the cap space the Clippers are hoping to use on big name free agents such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler.

Sacramento Kings

Another team nobody expected to make the playoffs this season, the Kings are only a couple of games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

While they are one of the youngest teams in the league, Sacramento is loaded in the frontcourt with Nemanja Bjelica, Marvin Bagley, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Harry Giles and Kosta Koufos.

A couple of those players are on expiring contracts and Cauley-Stein will be a restricted free agent in the offseason.

If the Kings aren't prepared to sign Cauley-Stein to a multi-year extension, they could try making him the centrepiece of a deal to acquire Gasol. That would give the Grizzlies an opportunity to evaluate Cauley-Stein's fit next to Jackson between now and the end of the season while the Kings make a playoff push with Gasol.

The Kings run the same risk as the Clippers do in a Gasol trade, but it wouldn't likely be nearly as damaging if he were to opt-in because Sacramento already has its core of the future in De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley.

Honourable Mention

The Los Angeles Lakers because Gasol would add a different dimension to their offence.

The Miami Heat because they could swap Gasol for Hassan Whiteside.

The San Antonio Spurs because Gasol is a perfect fit in Gregg Popovich's system.

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