Once the 2013-14 NBA season mercifully comes to an end for the Los Angeles Lakers, GM Mitch Kupchak and company will have some tough decisions to make in terms of which players on the current squad they offer contracts to. Although Pau Gasol appears to already have one foot out the door, the Spaniard will likely get an offer from the team in hopes of him staying in Los Angeles for a little while longer.
One team that seems to have an edge in terms of signing Gasol in the off-season is the same team that traded him to the Lakers in 2008. Gasol has let it be known that he’ll consider returning to the Memphis Grizzlies this summer in order to play alongside his brother, Marc Gasol.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the Grizzlies view Gasol as a “secondary” if unable to retain Zach Randolph:
Specifically, the fact that current Lakers forward and brother of Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, will be a free agent this July led to natural speculation about whether they could make up Memphis’ frontcourt for the future.
But a person with knowledge of the Grizzlies thinking said Randolph will be the focus of their free agency affection and that the interest they have in Pau Gasol would be secondary.
Randolph will have the ability to opt-out of his current deal with the Grizzlies in order to become an unrestricted free agent. The veteran forward/center will be one of many All-Star-caliber players can opt-out this summer with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh also able to do so.
With Randolph set to earn $16.5 million next season with the Grizzlies and likely won’t receive anything near that number with another team. Randolph’s main motivation for opting out would be to seek a long-term deal.
It’s uncertain what Randolph’s plans are heading into the off-season, but if he opts out and signs elsewhere, Gasol returning to Memphis could become a likely scenario.
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