Toronto Raptors: Trading for Marc Gasol a gamble worth taking

Marc Gasol Grizzlies Hornets

There are several spots to be filled on the team's roster and the buyout market is where Toronto will try to round out a lineup that is expected to make a serious run for the franchise's first ever Eastern Conference title.

Failure to do so would anger a fan base already sad the last vestiges of the Grit "N" Grind culture are coming to an end, with lifelong Grizzly Marc Gasol on the trade block as well.

For a fevered few minutes there on Thursday afternoon, it looked like the National Basketball Association trade deadline music would stop and Masai Ujiri would still be looking for a chair. "I think we all know that those playoffs can get wild and woolly, and he's a guy that's been through them many times".

The Raptors also sent center Greg Monroe to the Brooklyn Nets for a second-round pick, The Athletic reports. The 7-foot-1 Gasol gives the Raptors a deft scorer and passer to complement superstar Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam in the frontcourt.

This move, which comes less than a day after the Philadelphia 76ers swung a deal for Tobias Harris and just hours after the Milwaukee Bucks stole stretch-4 Nikola Mirotic, helps Toronto keep pace with the other contenders at the top of the conference standings.

Gasol, 34, is averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and a career-high 4.7 assists (which ranks second among National Basketball Association centers, trailing only Nikola Jokic's 7.7). Are the Raptors taking a big risk and will it be worth it? Nurse spent five years as an assistant coach working with Valanciunas and worked out with him in his native Lithuania on several occasions. "I think it's amusing to say, as a coach-player deal, but I think we'll be friends for life man, for sure".

Toronto is under added pressure with a chance to convince Leonard to remain in town when he becomes a free agent in the offseason. Ujiri said it was a "tough" phone call to make.

Trading Gasol at least got Memphis something out of a 34-year-old center who holds a $25 million option he can exercise this summer.

"Jonas was a baby with us, grew up with us", Ujiri said.

Gasol, meanwhile, could be in the Raptors' lineup Saturday in NY pending a team physical.

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