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Marc Gasol will have plenty of intriguing options as the NBA's top free agent

Marc Gasol will have a lot of options to choose from in free agency but staying in Memphis might be the best one.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Grizzlies' season is over and that means Marc Gasol's free agency watch begins. The Spanish center is one of the most coveted available players in the market and will have plenty of suitors when his contract officially ends. He had his best year as a pro in the regular season and while he didn't shine as bright in the playoffs, there are few true franchise cornerstones that could be had and Gasol is one of them.

The Grizzlies will of course try to retain him and have good odds of succeeding. After failing to make the conference finals for the second year in a row and with their salary cap clogged, however, Gasol would be foolish not to look around before deciding to return to Memphis.  Let's break down the teams that could entice him to leave.

San Antonio Spurs

Why they make sense

The Spurs could carve up max salary room if Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili retire. Even though San Antonio was eliminated in the first round, they were considered one of the league's true contenders and could have finished with the second-best record in the West with a win in the last game of the season. Tony Parker is starting to show his age, but Kawhi Leonard has emerged as a star, and the Spurs have a good supporting cast in place and the best coach in the league in Gregg Popovich.

Gasol would have a chance to contend immediately and for the foreseeable future while playing in a system designed to make the most out of his varied skill set and selflessness. At age 30, Gasol could also be interested in playing for a coach known for extending players' careers and next to quality big men who can take tough assignments so he doesn't have to. Being Tim Duncan's heir should have some appeal for Big Spain.

Why they don't make sense

It's unclear if Duncan and Ginobili will retire. If they don't, the Spurs are out of the running. Even if they do, they could be forced to let a core player go to accommodate Gasol which is not ideal for a team that counts depth as one of its biggest strengths. If Parker continues to decline and Leonard never takes another leap, the move would be lateral at best in terms of chances to contend.

New York Knicks

Why they make sense

The Knicks have a star that is the same age as Gasol, ample cap room the next two offseasons and one of the best picks in the draft. There's obviously also the allure of playing in New York, which would raise Gasol's profile significantly. Marc is not Pau, who craves to live in a big city, but after spending most of his adult life in Memphis he might be up for trying something new. A move to the East also means less competition. Getting out of the brutal Southwest division is a reward on its own.

On the court he would not have to be the first option on offense. Carmelo Anthony will shoulder that burden while Gasol provides complementary scoring and focuses on defense. His post game and passing ability make him a perfect fit for the triangle offense. Jose Calderon, his teammate from the Spanish national team, will be there and if the Knicks nail their draft selection or add other free agents, contention might not be as further down the line as many predict.

Why they don't make sense

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Knicks. Will Phil Jackson stay for the long haul or will he abandon ship now that James Dolan is back to doing things like hiring Isiah Thomas? Will other free agents follow Gasol there if he makes the jump or will the Knicks continue to strike out like they have in the past? If they miss in the draft, there won't be a lot of young talent there to ease Gasol's burden on the tail end of his contract. It's such a uniquely volatile situation that the negatives might outweigh the positives.

Los Angeles Lakers

Why they make sense

All the big city exposure and glamour the Knicks have to offer the Lakers can match while also having a track record of success. Kobe Bryant is on his last legs, which means someone will have to be the new face of the franchise and while Gasol doesn't seek the spotlight, the benefits from that position are hard to ignore. The Lakers also have a high draft selection along with plenty of cap space to make more moves and a promising young talent in Julius Randle.

On the court the team is far from contending right away but as Gasol, who was part of the trade that sent his brother to LA, knows, the Lakers always find ways to get better. A couple of good moves, a few good signings and Los Angeles will become the premier free agent destination around. Deferring to Bryant shouldn't be a big problem for Gasol, so the transition should be smooth and spending is not a concern for the Lakers as it was for the Grizzlies, which is always good to know if you are a star player.

Why they don't make sense

Pau didn't leave the Lakers in the best of terms. The team was a disaster this season and Byron Scott is still their coach. With Kobe around the flexibility for this offseason is limited and when he's gone Gasol could find himself alone in a team that is stuck between rebuilding and trying to improve. That's not a good position for a veteran to be in. Unless other additions are made first and for cheap to bolster the roster, it's hard to imagine Gasol being excited to be a part of the 2015-16 Lakers.

Memphis Grizzlies

Why they make the most sense

Gasol will surely look at what's out there before committing to the Grizzlies but if the franchise is willing to offer the max, he will probably take it. He went to high school in Memphis and has played there for his whole NBA career. He has a bond with his teammates and they are under contract for a few more seasons. The city will never be a big free agent destination but the front office has made some shrewd moves, like landing Kosta Koufos and Courtney Lee via trade. They can still improve that roster, which at times looked to be the second-best in the West.

If there was an option that was better than the Grizzlies in tangible ways and with little risk, Gasol would be wise to leave. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like any of his main suitors can offer a better shot at a title and a better situation for Marc. If that's still true in June, staying in Memphis will be Gasol's best option.