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Marc Gasol agrees to 5-year, $110 million deal to stay with Grizzlies

The All-NBA first-team center has finalized his big new contract to stay in Memphis.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent center Marc Gasol will re-sign with the Memphis Grizzlies on a five-year contract worth more than $110 million, reports ESPN's Marc Stein. The deal will keep Gasol, a two-time All-Star and All-NBA team member, in a Memphis uniform through the 2019-20 season.

It will have an opt-out clause after the fourth year, per Stein.

The belief was always that Gasol would return to Memphis because of his close ties to the city and franchise. He attended high school in the Memphis suburbs, where his family had moved after his brother Pau was drafted by the Grizzlies, and after being acquired Marc helped establish the team's Grit 'N Grind mantra. The San Antonio Spurs were seen as a possible competitor for Gasol, and to a lesser extent the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, but he never gave any indication of wanting to leave Memphis. In fact, no other team visited him during the free agent process.

Gasol is entering his eighth season in the NBA, and he's established himself as the legitimate anchor of an elite defense. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and led the Grizzlies to a top-10 defensive finish in each of the last five years.

While Gasol is known for his defense, his offense took a step forward last season. He's always been one of the best passing big men in the league, but last year he also put up a career-high 17.4 points per game on over 49 percent shooting. He made the All-Star Game for the second time in his career and earned All-NBA first team honors for the first time ever. Memphis won 55 games and gave the eventual champion Golden State Warriors a good fight in the second round before bowing out in six games.

With Gasol returning as their centerpiece, the Grizzlies must now work on improving their roster around the edges. Memphis will continue to be a stout defensive team with Gasol anchoring the middle, but more offense is needed. Specifically, the Grizzlies need an influx of outside shooting to put around their bruising frontcourt and point guard Mike Conley. Memphis isn't going away in the Western Conference playoff picture, but that extra offensive juice is a must to take the next step.