The Memphis Grizzlies are ready to end the longest chapter in their history.
The struggling Western Conference team is willing to field trade offers for veterans Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday, citing NBA sources.
The Grizzlies will consider offers for their cornerstone players before the Feb. 7 NBA trade deadline and afterward if one or more remain on the team. The players met with Grizzlies owner Robert Pera recently, but neither Conley nor Gasol expressed a desire to be traded, Wojnarowski’s sources claim.
Conley, 31, and Gasol, 33, both have spent their entire NBA careers in Memphis and previously were unavailable in trade scenarios. However, the Grizzles are fading from playoff contention and are ready to rebuild their roster around rookie center Jaren Jackson Jr., according to Wojnarowski’s sources.
Memphis reportedly will seek a combination of young players, draft picks and salary-cap relief in exchange for its veteran stars. The team owes the Boston Celtics a first-round draft pick that’s protected to No. 8 this year, No. 6 next year and unprotected in 2021.
Gasol’s $25.5 million-per-season contract will expire after next season, but he can opt out of it this summer and become a free agent. He has a trade kicker worth $1.2 million at the time of the trade deadline.
Trading Gasol likely will be easier than dealing Conley, who has two years and $67 million remaining on his massive contract. The team that acquires Conley will have to commit $67 million for a player with a spotty injury history.
The Grizzlies’ streak of seven consecutive playoff appearances ended last season, and their hopes of launching a new postseason run are all but dashed. That could spell the end of Conley’s and Gasol’s Grizzlies careers after 12 and 11 years, respectively.
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