Marc Gasol is a free agent this offseason. He was the solid starting center on a Toronto team that reached the second round of the playoffs and played with real grit.
He will have NBA options, but Gasol may consider a return to Spain to end his career, according to a rumor on Sportando.
According to Xavier Saiso Garcia of Radio Ser Catalunya, Spanish center Marc Gasol is considering a return to Europe, for family reasons, to continue there his illustrious career.
Take every rumor this time of year with a grain of salt, but Gasol may want to go this route.
Center in the NBA has become a position where teams want to get players cheaply (except for the true elites at the position such as Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic). It’s seen as an easy position to fill, and Gasol, at age 35, likely would only see one or two-year offers at or not far above the minimum. It’s a steep drop from the $25.6 million he made this season.
Gasol grew up in Spain until age 16 when he and his parents moved to Memphis to be with Marc’s older brother Pau Gasol. After high school, Marc returned to Spain and played for three seasons with Barcelona before coming back to the United States to play for Memphis himself.
Pau Gasol has talked about possibly playing for Barcelona this season, but there seems to be nothing to that. He and his wife also just had a daughter here in the USA and may want to stay home.
There is no set schedule yet for the next NBA season. The 2020 NBA Draft is Nov. 18 but that is the only date locked in. The buzz is growing louder around the league about a February start for the next NBA season. That uncertainty, and Marc Gasol’s comfort level with how both NBA teams and our nation are handling the coronavirus, may play into his concerns.
Barcelona, and the other top teams in Europe, are already playing their schedule. Gasol also likely has his eyes on returning to the Spanish national team to play in the Tokyo Olympics next summer.
It’s all something to watch. Gasol — an NBA Champion, Defensive Player of the Year, and three-time All-Star — has options.
Marc Gasol rumored to be considering return to Spain to finish career originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Hamlin, Michael Jordan partner on NASCAR team for Wallace
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Denny Hamlin has joined Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan to form a NASCAR team with Bubba Wallace as the driver, a high-profile pairing of a Black majority team owner and the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level.
The partnership was announced Monday night in coordinated social media posts by Jordan and Hamlin, with Wallace adding his own comment. The posts showed a picture of Jordan alongside a firesuit-clad Hamlin in a motorhome at a race track.
”Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners,” Jordan said in his statement. ”The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more.”
Jordan becomes the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup team since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott drove his own race car in 495 races from 1961 to 1973. Scott’s 1964 victory at the Jacksonville 200 is the only win by a Black driver in Cup history.
The NBA great, who earlier this year pledged $100 million over 10 years for initiatives combating systemic racism, said the move into NASCAR is another step toward racial equality.
”I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing,” Jordan said.
Jordan joins former NBA player Brad Daugherty, a partner at JTG Daugherty Racing, as the only Black owners at NASCAR’s elite Cup level.
”Michael and Bubba can be a powerful voice together, not only in our sport, but also well beyond it,” Hamlin said.
Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and a top contender for this year’s Cup title, will be part of a single-car Toyota entry aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin has raced his entire career for Gibbs, a Hall of Fame NFL coach.
”Eleven years ago I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends,” Hamlin wrote. ”Not long after, I joined Jordan Brand as their first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years and now we are ready to take it to the next level.
”Deciding on the driver was easy – it had to be Bubba Wallace.”
Wallace is the only Black driver in the Cup Series and this season used his platform to push for racial equality. The 27-year-old successfully urged NASCAR to ban the display of the Confederate flag at its events.
Wallace is winless in 105 Cup starts over four seasons, but he has six career victories in the Truck Series. He’s been hampered by mid-level equipment driving the No. 43 for Hall of Famer Richard Petty and, until this summer, the team struggled to land sponsorship.
”Bubba has shown tremendous improvement since joining the Cup Series and we believe he’s ready to take his career to a higher level,” Hamlin said. ”He deserves the opportunity to compete for race wins and our team will make sure he has the resources to do just that.
”Off the track, Bubba has been a loud voice for change in our sport and our country. MJ and I support him fully in those efforts and stand beside him.”
There’s been speculation for months that Hamlin was organizing some sort of ownership group as he expects NASCAR’s business model to become more favorable for team owners when the ”Next Gen” car is released in 2022. NASCAR rules prohibit a current driver from owning a team and driving for another, but Hamlin works around the policy with Jordan as the principal owner.
”Starting a race team has been something that Michael and I have talked about while playing golf together over the years, but the timing or circumstances were never really right,” Hamlin said. ”It just makes sense now to lay the foundation for my racing career after I’m done driving and also help an up-and-coming driver like Bubba take his career to a higher level.”
In a statement, NASCAR welcomed Jordan to the series.
”His presence at NASCAR’s top level will further strengthen the competition, excitement and momentum growing around our sport,” NASCAR said.
Jordan became a partial owner of the Bobcats in 2006 and bought the team outright in 2010, restoring the franchise to its original Hornets name. Hamlin has been a longtime season-ticket holder with courtside seats along the visitors’ bench.
Jordan dabbled in racing before with Michael Jordan Motorsports. He owned an AMA Superbike team and had one win in 10 years. Jordan has twice traveled to the NASCAR season finale to watch Hamlin race for the championship. Hamlin, who’s 39, is still seeking his first title.
”Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life,” Jordan said. ”The opportunity to own my own race team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me.”
Wallace, who has cobbled together about $18 million in sponsorship deals since he made racial equality his platform, had already announced he was parting with Petty.
”This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career,” Wallace wrote. ”I am grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”
Jordan and Hamlin purchased a charter for their team from Germain Racing that guarantees Wallace a spot in the 40-car field every week.
More AP NASCAR: https://apnews.com/NASCAR and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
Big night for Las Vegas Raiders, their new hometown
LAS VEGAS (AP) — As the light outside faded, the glittering casinos on the Las Vegas Strip came to life Monday evening through the giant lanai doors in the new home of the Raiders.
If the backdrop was spectacular, so was the scene on the field. There were the Raiders playing the New Orleans Saints before a national television audience, a moment the late Howard Cosell would have never imagined when Monday Night Football kicked off exactly a half-century earlier.
No one else would have imagined it would take place before 65,000 empty seats, but that’s sports during a pandemic. Not only were fans missing – at least indoors – but so was Raiders owner Mark Davis, who expressed his solidarity with his new city by watching on TV with other team executives at the Raiders’ practice facility.
His mother, Carol, was there, leading a ceremonial lighting of the giant torch honoring her late husband, Al. So was NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who just a few years ago was threatening to suspend any player who might even accidentally enter a casino in this gambling town.
And everything in the sparkling new $2 billion Allegiant Stadium screamed the Silver and Black – even if there were no actual fans there to scream for their team.
Best of all, a town that loves a winner got one. The Raiders overcame an early 10-0 deficit to dominate most of the rest of the way, beating Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints 34-24.
And, in true Las Vegas fashion, coach Jon Gruden compared it to the kind of big events Las Vegas was known for before it landed an NFL team.
”We knew it was going to be a 15-round fight here tonight,” he said. ”You just got to keep swinging against New Orleans because they have the heart of a champion.”
The newest show just off the Strip at the corner of Al Davis Way and Dean Martin Drive was an instant hit, with Derek Carr and tight end Darren Waller playing pitch and catch most of the night and the Raiders controlling the time of possession. Josh Jacobs ran for 88 yards, and Daniel Carlson kicked a 54-yard field goal with 1:05 left to clinch the win.
The bookies just down the street had made the home team four-point underdogs, figuring the Raiders’ defense was going to have trouble stopping Brees. But you only get to open at home once and the Raiders weren’t going to be denied on this night.
Outside the stadium, fans parked cars anywhere they could and joined at fences to watch on their phones and cheer for their new team. At halftime, the Killers rocked them and the nation from the rooftop of nearby Caesars Palace.
Oakland and its aging stadium suddenly felt like a very long time ago.
”We have a great fan base and they’re out in the street proving it,” Gruden said. ”I just hope they wear their masks.”
If they did, they were paying more attention to health guidelines than Gruden. He paced the sideline with his mask low much of the game, not covering anything but his chin despite NFL warnings for coaches to mask up.
”I’ve had the virus and I’m doing my best,” Gruden said, saying he had trouble calling plays with a mask on. ”I’m very sensitive about all of that and I apologize.”
For a while, it looked like Gruden might have to apologize for the play of his team, too. But after a slow start, the Raiders are now 2-0 on the young season and 1-0 in the stadium Mark Davis dubbed the Death Star because that’s where the other team’s chances to win die.
Carr said the team has bonded quickly with its new home and knew the significance of winning the first game in Las Vegas.
”We want to emulate what Vegas has and we want to feed off each other,” he said. ”It’s hard not to feel that energy in the stadium but trust me, just being a part of this community and going home every day we feel it.”
On this night, at least, the feeling was good for both the Raiders and their fans. The Raiders – or any other NFL team – making a home in Las Vegas was once unimaginable but is now finally a reality.
It may be the perfect marriage of a rebel team in a city that has always flaunted the rules.
The Raiders have embraced Las Vegas, and the city is loving them back.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
Jacob deGrom dominance, a Michael Conforto injury, and the playoffs nearly out of reach
The Mets’ fading playoff hopes took a big blow on Monday when their bats went silent, failing to back up a start where Jacob deGrom matched a career-high with 14 strikeouts.
Before the game, the team announced that Michael Conforto was dealing with hamstring tightness.
Here’s what happened on Monday in Mets Land, in case you missed it, and what’s on tap for Tuesday…
- DeGrom was largely brilliant, but the Mets mustered just one run as they lost ground in a Wild Card race they already needed a miracle to rise to the top of >> Read more
- With his 14-strikeout, seven-inning performance, deGrom stayed right in the thick of the chase for the Cy Young award >> Read more
- Michael Conforto is dealing with hamstring tightness and was not available on Monday >> Read more
- Jake Marisnick landed on the IL due to hamstring tightness, ending his season >> Read more
- The latest Shea Anything podcast dropped, with the guys discussing the potential return of Sandy Alderson >> Listen here
- On Like We Never Left, Robin Ventura, Edgardo Alfonzo, and John Olerud talked about the 1999 Mets infield — the greatest ever? Watch here
- The Mets’ Jarred Kelenic trade nightmare nearly didn’t happen, and the scenario involved Sixto Sanchez >> Read more
WHAT’S ON TAP
The Mets face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night at Citi Field, with coverage on SNY beginning at 6:30 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10.
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