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Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors' Marc Gasol wanted to stay with the Memphis Grizzlies, says 'thank God they ignored me'

Marc Gasol
Getty Images

Prior to being traded to the Toronto Raptors at February's deadline, Marc Gasol had played his entire professional career with the Memphis Grizzlies ... and he wanted to keep it that way.

Gasol was keen on the idea of playing his entire career in the only NBA city he's known, but was shipped to Toronto in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, C.J. Miles and a 2024 second-round draft pick as the Grizzlies began their rebuild.

In the months that followed, Gasol played a vital role in the Raptors' maiden NBA championship run and looking back he's glad the Grizzlies ignored his wishes.

"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 told reporters in the Antiga Fabrica Estrella Damm in Barcelona, per the Europa Press news agency.

The 34-year-old was an immediate hit in Toronto, giving the Raptors some much-needed rim protection, defence, playmaking and veteran experience as they eventually went on to beat the Golden State Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals.

With Mike Conley Jr. now a member of the Utah Jazz, the 'Grit and Grind' era in Memphis is officially over, with the two franchise cornerstones now both on contending teams in the latter stages of their careers.

Gasol will run it back with the Raptors next season after he opted in to his $25.6 million player option for 2019-20.

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