The Los Angeles Lakers have already shown this offseason that they want to significantly improve their roster even after winning a title, and Marc Gasol is another big-name veteran they have their eye on.
The Lakers have emerged as a “serious suitor” for Gasol, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Gasol, a three-time All-Star, wants to contend for another title and is intrigued by the possibility of playing in Los Angeles.
Gasol was traded to the Toronto Raptors midway through the 2018-19 season, and he helped the team win a championship with Kawhi Leonard leading the way. The 35-year-old was then a big reason why Toronto remain competitive and won 53 games last season despite losing Leonard, though his offensive numbers were down a bit. Gasol averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
The Lakers made a huge move on Friday when they stole reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell away from the Los Angeles Clippers. They could still use another veteran in their frontcourt, as Dwight Howard looked like he was going to re-sign with the Lakers before pivoting amid unusual circumstances. Gasol could certainly help fill that void.
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The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to move quickly to replace the departing Dwight Howard in the frontcourt.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Lakers are eyeing Marc Gasol as a potential replacement for Howard. The 35-year-old center spent last season as a starter for the Toronto Raptors, but likely would not be too expensive for the Lakers.
The Lakers seemed to have Howard set to return, but are now moving quickly on other targets after he ended up signing with the Philadelphia 76ers. Gasol is a solid second option. Though he’s no longer the potent scorer he was in his prime, he still averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for Toronto last season. Gasol also has some distant ties to the Lakers, as his brother Pau was a popular championship-winning member of the organization.
“I know there’s interest from several NBA teams to get in touch,” said Gasol, per HoopsHype. “I want to help my future team to win on a consistent basis and contend for the championship. I don’t see myself playing for a rebuilding team.”
Gasol, the three-time All-Star, will turn 36 next year. While he already won a title with the Raptors in 2019, that kind of mindset is hardly surprising for a player nearing the end of his career. Gasol can still contribute though. He averaged 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game as Toronto’s starting center last season.
That said, the Raptors have other priorities to attend to this offseason. Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet are also free agents in addition to Gasol. No matter, Toronto should still be at least close to championship contention next season. But another option may be on the table for Gasol as well.
Marc Gasol helped the Toronto Raptors nearly reach the Eastern Conference Finals this year even after losing Kawhi Leonard, but the veteran center is facing an uncertain future as he heads toward free agency. While there would likely be interest in him returning to Toronto, Gasol may opt to leave the NBA.
According to a report from Xavier Saiso Garcia of Radio Ser Catalunya, Gasol will consider returning to Europe to play next year. The 35-year-old is from Spain and played there professionally for several years before he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Gasol has seen his offensive numbers drop significantly since he joined the Raptors, but he’s still a solid low-post defender. There would likely be plenty of interest in him on the free agent market if he wants to keep playing in the NBA, especially after the way he slimmed down prior to the Orlando restart.
Gasol averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds while playing 26.4 minutes per game in his first full season with Toronto.
Gasol, the former Defensive Player of the Year, had been listed this season at 255 pounds. He was averaging 7.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.4 assists in 27.5 minutes per game for the Raptors before play was suspended.
Despite Kawhi Leonard’s departure this summer, the Toronto Raptors are not about to do anything drastic with their roster.
Sean Deveney of Heavy.com reported on Friday that teams have reached out to the Raptors about potential trades for their veteran players Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka but have been turned down. Deveney adds that Toronto has a rebuilding plan that does not include tanking.
Amid Leonard leaving for the LA Clippers after delivering the Raptors their first-ever NBA title in June, the team went out and signed the likes of Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. They have also reportedly started talks with new franchise cornerstone Pascal Siakam about a potential extension.
Amid a mass exodus of superstars and other high-caliber players this summer, Team USA just lost their first game on the international stage in 13 years. They are getting no sympathy from Marc Gasol however.
In an ESPN interview this week, the Spanish center spoke on the relatively dire straits for the depleted Americans in the wake of their loss in exhibition play to the Australian Boomers.
“I think all teams miss people,” said Gasol, per EuroHoops. “Obviously, Team USA has so many great names that it’s different for them but also, they have a lot of talent coming up. There’s always a time of transition for teams, maybe for them it’s been all at once but at some point, there’s always that point of transition. I don’t feel bad for them because they still have a whole bunch of talent coming up.
“We miss [Nikola] Mirotic, [Serge] Ibaka, Pau [Gasol], Sergio Rodriguez, [Alex] Abrines,” added Gasol about the Spanish team. “We miss a whole bunch of guys. To me, it’s all excuses if you want to make them. With the void of some players comes an opportunity for other players to step up.”
Of course, the 34-year-old Gasol has suffered plenty heartbreak at the hands of Team USA over the years. The most notable ones came in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics as well as at the 2014 FIBA World Cup when the United States won the tournament with Spain as the host nation.
Marc Gasol won his first career NBA title with the Toronto Raptors last month, but it actually would not have happened had he gotten his own way.
Speaking with reporters in Europe this week, the veteran center spoke about how he wanted to stay with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“There have been few players that haven’t been traded over the years in the NBA,” said Gasol, per Alex Madrid of EuroHoops. “If it had been depended on me, I wouldn’t have been traded. I always thought I could reverse the situation there and bring the team to the top. But, thank God, they ignored me.”
The 34-year-old Gasol had been a Grizzlies lifer before being dealt to Toronto at the February trade deadline, spending the first ten seasons of his career with them. The team is rebuilding now however and parted ways with all of Gasol’s other Grit N Grind-era teammates as well, including Tony Allen, Zach Randolph, and Mike Conley.
The Toronto Raptors were dealt a major blow last week when Kawhi Leonard decided to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers, but that does not mean they are giving up on contending in the Eastern Conference next season.
Several of Toronto’s key players — Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka — are set to become free agents a year from now, which has led to speculation that the Raptors might explore trade possibilities for one or more of them. TSN’s Josh Lewenberg reports that Masai Ujiri has no plans to hold a fire sale and would prefer to see things through.
The Raptors have no plans to trade vets Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka (all on expiring deals) ahead of the season, I’m told. As he’s done previously, Masai is expected to give his team an opportunity to sink or swim before choosing a path and deciding on its future.
Leonard may be gone, but the East is wide open. While the Raptors would have been the clear favorite if Leonard returned, the NBA Finals MVP went to a Western Conference team. Kyrie Irving also left the Boston Celtics to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, who will be without Kevin Durant for the entire 2019-20 season. The Philadelphia 76ers added Al Horford, but they lost Jimmy Butler. The Milwaukee Bucks lost Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers. There are a handful of teams that could win the East, and the Raptors are still one of them.
Ujiri knew all offseason that Leonard leaving was a strong possibility, but that didn’t stop him from making some big promises for the future. There’s no need for a total rebuild, especially with how things stand elsewhere in the East.