Marc Gasol happy things worked out after wanting to stay in Memphis

Toronto Raptors centre Marc Gasol originally did not want to leave the Memphis Grizzlies prior to the trade. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

Marc Gasol has become a legend in Toronto both for his on and off-court performances, but had he been granted his original wishes, it wouldn’t have turned out that way.

Gasol established himself as one of the most accomplished players in Memphis Grizzlies history and wanted to spend his entire NBA career with the franchise. However, the Raptors came calling ahead of the trade deadline and though he protested the move, he has no regrets anymore.

“There have been few players that haven’t been traded over the years in the NBA. If it had been depended on me, I wouldn’t have been traded. I always thought I could reverse the situation there [in Memphis] and bring the team to the top. But, thank God, they ignored me,” Gasol said, via Alex Madrid of Eurohoops.net

The rest, as they say, is history. Gasol gave the Raptors another top-notch rim protector, while his excellent passing disarmed opposing defences throughout the latter stages of the regular season, and well into the postseason.

While he wasn’t quite in the form that helped him earn Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013, the three-time All-Star fortified the Raptors’ strong defensive identity, which helped the team to their NBA Finals victory over the Golden State Warriors in six games.

The 34-year-old will have another full season with the Raptors, after he opted in to his $25.6 million player option for 2019-20.

Gasol also became the unofficial MVP of Toronto’s championship parade - with due consideration to Norm Powell - and the images of him happily dancing and drinking along on his float will last forever for Raptors fans.

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