The end of a great era is closing in on Beale Street, as Mike Conley and Marc Gasol have likely played their last game together in a Grizzlies uniform.
Knowing the devotion he has given to the organization, fans inside FedExForum decided to give Gasol a hero’s sendoff during Tuesday night’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Gasol, who could be heading to the Charlotte Hornets before this season’s trade deadline, was held out of the matchup. However, when he walked out of the tunnel during the first quarter to have a seat on the bench, fans inside the arena rose to their feet in cheer.
Geoff Calkins relayed the scene in his recent article for the Daily Memphian:
With 7:12 left in the first quarter, Marc Gasol walked out of the tunnel and sat on the Memphis Grizzlies bench.
A few fans noticed and started to cheer, and then more fans noticed and the cheers got louder, and then the cheers became a standing ovation for Gasol, and for an era, and for this one last night.
Gasol thumped his heart with his fist.
No words needed to be said.
Marc Gasol walked out to the bench, fans noticed and gave standing ovation pic.twitter.com/0SXtpiYPXh
— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) February 6, 2019
Though he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, Gasol has spent his entire 11-year career with the Grizzlies. He has averaged 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in Memphis while making three All-Star appearances. Clearly, fans of the organization respect his devotion.
Conley, who is beloved by Grizzlies fans in his own right, said the moment gave him chills:
“We felt it, it just gave you chills,” Conley said. “It felt foggy, everything felt weird and off, but you just felt the love, man, and that’s all you can ask for.”
The Grizzlies, who are entering a rebuild phase, have been in “strong talks” with the Hornets ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline:
Memphis is in strong talks to move franchise star Marc Gasol to Charlotte, league sources tell @TheAthletic @WatchStadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 5, 2019
There has since been some pessimism about the trade happening, with pick protection reportedly a key holdup, but that doesn’t mean a deal definitely won’t happen.
The Detroit Pistons are said to have interest in acquiring Conley, who played in Tuesday’s game. However, those talks have cooled off a bit, according to a report from Pistons beat writer Vince Ells:
And I gather #Pistons aren’t expecting to land Mike Conley at this juncture. “Asking too much,” source says. Bullock trade would appear to be that realization.
— VinceEllis (@AlabamaScribe56) February 6, 2019
According to a report from The Athletic, the Utah Jazz have emerged as another potential landing spot for Conley:
As it stands now, the Pistons and the Jazz are the two front-runners in the Conley sweepstakes.
All good things must come to an end, as the old saying goes. However, the joy that Gasol and Conley gave these fans will live on.