Originally written December 12, 2011 on Fox Sports Tennessee:
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The Grizzlies are in training camp without restricted free agent center Marc Gasol, a key piece of the team's playoff run last spring. But there's the feeling the team will get a deal done as soon as possible. Gasol could accept the team's one-year, 4.5 million qualifying offer, play out the season and hit the market as a free agent. But Gasol has said several times that he wants to be in Memphis, especially now that the Grizzlies have the proper pieces to get back to the playoffs. "He's got a good foundation here and I know he wants to be here," Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley said of Gasol. "He's our final piece. We love him here." "Nobody has a higher appreciation for Marc than the management of the Grizzlies," Heisley said. "I understand that he's looking to be paid, and I think he should be paid. We're going to match what anybody offers. He's going to get double figures (at least 10 million) starting out." Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay said that Griz will be good without Gasol, but will "be great with him." "We need Marc," Gay said. "There are no more Gasol brothers out there." NOTES, QUOTES C Marc Gasol's summer hoops including helping Spain win its second straight European basketball title, 98-85 over France behind former Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro's 27 points. Marc had 11 points and six rebounds, and brother Pau, a former Griz, added 17 points and 10 rebounds. "Playing for Spain means a lot just because we're a group of guys who pretty much grew up together," Gasol said. "To be able to accomplish what we have is great because we're taking the name of Spain to its highest point. We don't believe in pressure. We enjoy it. The bigger the game, the better we are." F Rudy Gay will be watched closely in training camp. Gay, who signed a five-year, 84 million contract before the start of the 2010-11 season, was having a career year when he sustained a season-ending shoulder injury last Feb. 15 against Philadelphia. Renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on him five weeks later. In early September, Andrews said Gay's surgically repaired shoulder had full strength and range of motion and gave him clearance to play in a lockout league in Las Vegas, where he earned rave reviews. On Nov. 9, Gay staged an all-star game just outside of Memphis featuring himself, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Gay led all scorers with 45 points and looked ready to get to training camp. "The shoulder feels great," Gay said. G O.J. Mayo, who somehow survived season three last year and came out the other side of it a stronger person and better player, might be in contract limbo. Last season, Mayo lost his starting job, got in a fight with teammate Tony Allen on the team plane over a card game, received a 10-game suspension for unknowingly taking a substance banned by the NBA, almost got traded and played well enough in the playoffs to re-earn his starting job at the end. "It wasn't a cakewalk to get to the NBA," Mayo said. "Nothing has been easy in my life. I just keep working and working." Yet when you're talking about any Grizzlies players who might be on the early trading block, Mayo is the first name mentioned. He would have been traded to Indiana last February for forward Josh McRoberts and a first-round pick, but the deal fell through when the Grizzlies just missed the deadline for filing the paperwork with the NBA office. Maybe the best way for Mayo to stay with the Grizzlies is to develop into a three-point threat off the bench, a role he filled to the max during the playoffs when he shot 41 percent on threes. QUOTE TO NOTE "It's really important that we keep him. He told me he wants to be back. We all get along with each other. We care about each other. We're a family." -- Forward Zach Randolph on the importance of re-signing center Marc Gasol ROSTER REPORT Re-signing restricted free agent center Marc Gasol remains the numero uno priority, but free agent swingman Shane Battier, as figured, bid farewell to the Grizzlies for a second time. Battier, starting his 11th season, wanted to play with a contender, so he signed with the Heat. GUARDS Mike Conley Tony Allen O.J. Mayo Greivis Vasquez Xavier Henry Ish Smith Josh Selby Analysis Conley has developed into a consummate point guard, and Allen is a lockdown, game-changing defender. If Mayo wants to stay with the team, he needs to fill the role of a three-point shooting specialist. The emergence of then-rookie Vasquez in last year's playoffs as a backup point guard (averaging 4.3 points, 1.9 assists and 1.5 rebounds) was a pleasant surprise. FORWARDS Rudy Gay Zach Randolph Sam Young Darrell Arthur Josh Davis Analysis With the return of a healthy Gay and the steady inside play of Randolph, who last year averaged a double-double for the sixth time in his 10-year pro career, the Grizzlies have one of the league's most underrated set of starting forwards. Young is a streaky outside shooter, but aggressive driver and Arthur showed a mid-range game and some board muscle last year. Young opened training camp with a sprained ankle that needs another week to heal. Davis is a veteran power forward that the Grizzlies invited to training camp. He has bounced back and forth from the NBA to Europe throughout his nine-year career, playing last season in Italy. CENTERS Marc Gasol Mikki Moore Brian Skinner Analysis: Obviously, the Grizzlies will do everything to re-sign Gasol, who averaged 12 points and seven rebounds in the regular season. The team needs to sign backup center Hamed Haddadi, but Haddadi is facing a trio of obstacles: He still has legal troubles from a domestic violence arrest that is causing immigration issues that are keeping him in Iran; the Grizzlies are trying to decide if they want to honor a 2 million qualifying offer they made him; and they signed veteran big men Mikki Moore and Brian Skinner, bringing them to training camp. Moore, a 7-foot, 11-year veteran, hasn't played in the NBA since 2009-10, when he played in 23 games for the Warriors. Skinner, a 12-year vet, has played in just 18 NBA games the last two seasons, playing a mere two games with the Bucks last year.
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