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MavsFanFinley
10-01-2004, 11:47 PM
Gasol gets six more years to play for West, Brown

October 1, 2004

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Pau Gasol has been in the NBA for three seasons. That's been long enough for the 7-foot Spaniard to realize he wants to keep working with Jerry West and Hubie Brown.

The Memphis Grizzlies agreed to terms with the 2002 NBA rookie of the year on a six-year contract extension. He still has one year left on his rookie contract.

Gasol, 24, led the Grizzlies last year with 17.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.69 blocks per game. He ranked 20th in the NBA in field goal percentage and 18th in blocks.

Gasol changed agents last spring hoping to find someone who could help him work out a deal keeping him with West, the Grizzlies' president of basketball operations, and Brown, last season's NBA coach of the year.

``I know those two are hard workers and true competitors and two of the classiest guys in the league,'' Gasol said Friday by telephone during a Grizzlies golf tournament.

The third overall pick in the 2001 draft by Atlanta, Gasol wound up with the Grizzlies after a draft-night trade sent him and Lorenzen Wright to a team busy moving from Vancouver to Memphis.

The Grizzlies went just 23-59 that first season, and Gasol was one of the lone bright spots as he led Memphis in scoring and didn't miss a game.

Then owner Michael Heisley lured West out of retirement in April 2002.

West convinced Brown to join him in November, and those two turned the franchise around. The Grizzlies had their best year last season with a 50-32 record, leading to their first playoff berth before being swept by San Antonio in the first round.

The Grizzlies move into their new arena this month, and Gasol said he didn't want to leave what he called a great environment.

``It's a great situation for a player to be here, and I'm looking for it to be a better situation to win and go deeper in the playoffs,'' he said.

Gasol impressed West with his play for Spain in the Athens Olympics.

He led Spain to its best Olympic finish since 1988. The Spaniards went 6-1, with their only loss coming to the United States in the quarterfinals. Gasol went 14-of-16 for 37 points in beating China and Yao Ming for seventh overall.

``His play in the Olympic Games this summer displayed his value, while showcasing his talent to people throughout the world. Pau is a dynamic player, and we are happy to have him in Memphis as the cornerstone of our franchise,'' West said in a statement.

Contract terms were not immediately available.

Gasol missed the first game of his three-year NBA career on April 5 with a sore right foot, snapping a streak of 240 straight games that had been sixth longest in the league.

Now he can concentrate on earning a second straight playoff berth for the Grizzlies, who open training camp Tuesday.

``We want to try to get a better team every year and get to another level in the playoffs,'' he said.

sike
10-02-2004, 05:15 PM
Gasol, 24, led the Grizzlies last year with 17.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.69 blocks per game. He ranked 20th in the NBA in field goal percentage and 18th in blocks.
24? Darn....that dude is pretty freakin good now....imagine what he will become in three years or so.

bernardos70
10-02-2004, 10:59 PM
Gasol is an awesome player, and he still has quite a bit of upside. Dare I say he runs around better than Dirk, but of course he doesn't quite have the touch from midrange or long range like Dirk does. But he posts up very well........... good move by the Grizzlies to lock him on this extension.

Bayliss
10-03-2004, 07:56 PM
Now, Hubie Brown needs to play him like a star and quit using him like a glorified role player.