NBA Grizzlies will retire Spaniard Marc Gasol's No. 33

Gasol's No.33 jersey retired by the Memphis Grizzlies (AFP Photo/EZRA SHAW)

Washington (AFP) - Marc Gasol's No. 33 jersey will be retired by the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, team owner Robert Pera said Friday, a day after trading the Spanish center to the Toronto Raptors.

The 34-year-old Spanish 7-footer (2.16m) has played for the Grizzlies since making his 2008 NBA debut but was moved to the contending Raptors at Thursday's league trade deadline.

Nevertheless, Pera made it clear how much Gasol has meant to the club.

"Marc has been a dedicated teammate, star player and pillar of this team for the past 11 seasons," Pera said in a statement. "He plays with a heart and a passion for the game that helped carry this franchise to seven straight playoff appearances.

"But what Marc has done for this organization is about more than just basketball. He was a part of a core group of players that helped shape the identity of this franchise on and off the court and were embraced by the city of Memphis."

Pera thanked Gasol for "his blood, sweat and dedication to the Grizzlies and Memphis. The impact he has had on this team and the city will live on, and we look forward to one day welcoming him back home to Memphis where his No. 33 jersey will hang in the rafters".

The Raptors, 40-16, are 1.5 games behind Milwaukee for the top record in the Eastern Conference while the Grizzlies, 22-34, have the second-worst record in the Western Conference, eight games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the last playoff spot.

Gasol, a three-time NBA All-Star and 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, helped Spain to two Eurobasket titles and two Olympic silver medals in 2008 and 2012.

Gasol has career averages of 15.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 blocked shots a game for the Grizzlies.

Gasol's older brother Pau is a two-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers who played for the Grizzlies from 2001-2008.