Hornets' Deal For Marc Gasol Fell Apart With Last-Minute Haggling

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Toronto finalized a deal with Memphis to pick up the three-time All-Star, the team announced Thursday.

The Toronto Raptors have confirmed that centre Jonas Valanciunas is ready to return to action after missing almost two months with a dislocated left thumb.

"He's really excited to be here and this is, I think, exciting for us going forward as we move to all of us trying to achieve a dream of contending for a championship in the NBA", Ujiri, the team president, said in Toronto late Thursday night. The 34-year-old big man has a player option for next season which comes with a cap hit of more than $25.59 million, per Spotrac. What can the Raptors expect from Gasol given his age and contract?

There are several spots to be filled on the team's roster and the buyout market is where Toronto will try to round out a lineup that is expected to make a serious run for the franchise's first ever Eastern Conference title.

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With only hours left before the National Basketball Association trade deadline, there's only so many teams that could take in Conley and the $97.5 million he could be owed between this season and the next two. Two days later, Memphis traded away its career leader in points, rebounds and blocks to at least get something in case Gasol opted out this summer. "I think we all know that those playoffs can get wild and woolly, and he's a guy that's been through them many times".

Several players seem to be drawing extra attention from the Raptors, who have to fill both the centre slot vacated by Monroe and need extra depth on the wings after losing Wright and Miles. But Conley is due $67 million over the final two seasons of the max contract he signed in July 2016, making a trade tougher to piece together. Nurse spent five years as an assistant coach working with Valanciunas and worked out with him in his native Lithuania on several occasions.

Gasol, meanwhile, could be in the Raptors' lineup Saturday in NY pending a team physical. "I'll miss him", Nurse said. While everyone wondered what Ujiri would do after another embarrassing playoff exit, we now have our answer: He blew it up. "I miss him already". The Raptors have just 10 players under National Basketball Association contracts, and they must be at 14 within the next two weeks.

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