Raptors strike before trade deadline, acquire Marc Gasol

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The Grizzlies traded Gasol, 34, on Thursday at the National Basketball Association trade deadline with the center holding a $25 million option he can exercise this summer. Memphis discussed trades with multiple teams, but made a decision to keep its franchise point guard.

It's a power move for a Toronto team looking to improve its roster as it vies with Philadelphia and Milwaukee, among others, in the Eastern Conference.

I think it's fair to say that Toronto got the best player in the trade. Originally drafted in the second round by the Jazz out of high school in 2005, the 6-foot-5 wing player had played for Utah (2005-12), Cleveland (2012-14) and in (2014-17) before signing a three-year deal with Toronto last offseason.

There are now a good number of big names in the buyout market, but one player that comes to mind as a potentially good fit for the Raptors is veteran swingman Wes Matthews. The amount of his bonus (if not waived) will be applied to his $24.1 million salary.

New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday right front handles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. left and guard Avery Brad
New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday right front handles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. left and guard Avery Brad

The 34-year-old Gasol is averaging 15.7 points per game, 8.6 rebounds and a career-high 4.7 assists.

Valanciunas is averaging 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds this season with the Raptors.

Valanciunas was cleared to play today after missing 25 games with a dislocated left thumb and was expected in Toronto's lineup for Thursday's game at Atlanta. Gasol has a player option for the 2019-20 season that would see him earn over $25 million. 14-year veteran CJ Miles has come on strong as of late and is averaging 5.5 points through 40 games this season. Valanciunas and Miles have player options, and Wright will become a restricted free agent.

Memphis is now $668,000 below the luxury tax threshold.

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