Lakers FYI: Might one good Gasol (Pau) deserve another (Marc)?

Lakers FYI: Might one good Gasol (Pau) deserve another (Marc)?
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol reacts after getting his above his right eye during a game Friday night at Staples Center. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers went from middling team to championship contender when they acquired forward-center Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008.

Could they accelerate their rebuilding process this summer when his brother Marc Gasol hits free agency?


The Grizzlies center certainly has a fan in Lakers Coach Byron Scott.

"He's just a great basketball player. I don't think it's close right now, who the [NBA's] best center is," Scott said Friday before Gasol and the Grizzlies faced the Lakers.

The Lakers stand to have sizable salary cap space in July, enough to offer Gasol a contract near $80 million over four years.

It's too early to pursue Gasol, but the 29-year-old veteran, now in his seventh season, said he would listen if approached — when the time comes.

"When we get to July we will sit down, and we will listen to everybody," said Gasol, who was drafted by the Lakers in the second round (48th overall) in 2007 and was traded to Memphis in the deal that brought his brother to Los Angeles. "Talking about it now, and weighing the different options, it's not useful. I understand the attention, but right now it's way too early to think and even talk about it."

Would he look at the Lakers through the prism of his brother's championships in 2009 and 2010, or might the latter years, in which the team attempted to trade Pau to New Orleans for Chris Paul, dissuade the younger Gasol?

"You always try to remember always the good times, why the bad times?" Marc Gasol said. "I don't think you get anything good out of it."

If it's a question of money, the Grizzlies can offer Gasol more than $100 million for five seasons. Beyond the finances, his current squad means a lot to the 7-foot-1 center; Memphis has become a perennial contender in the Western Conference.

"I got [to Memphis] when I was 16, when Memphis played at the Pyramid when we had Tony Massenburg and Ike Austin," Gasol said. "Watching Pau play, and watching the franchise grow, imagine how much the franchise and the city of Memphis means to me."

The Lakers may find it difficult to lure Gasol away from the Grizzlies, but expect General Manager Mitch Kupchak to have a call scheduled with Gasol's agent the moment the calendar hits July 1.

Kelly returns

Ryan Kelly had a great 2014 off the court.

He got married. He received a two-year contract extension from the Lakers. He found out he would be a father.

On the court, however, things weren't so good for him, at least from September through December. Kelly was sidelined by a variety of hamstring ailments, the most severe of which had sidelined him since Nov. 16.


He finally returned Friday against Memphis.

"It's healed, by all accounts," he said. "The next step is playing and I don't think there will be any setbacks going forward."

He had appeared in only three games, averaging 3.7 points, a drop from the eight points he averaged last season as a rookie.

The Lakers hope he can stretch the court as their only big man with three-point range.

"I just think I'm pretty ball friendly, pretty smart. I can make things easy, make the right play," he said.

Kelly added, "The timing's pretty good. New year."

Times staff writer Mike Bresnahan contributed to this report.