The Los Angeles Lakers officially announced the signing of Marc Gasol to a two-year contract, as he joins Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell as newcomers to the defending NBA champions.
While the Lakers conceivably could add another center, Gasol currently projects to be their starter. His signing and likely being inserted into the starting lineup were both made all the more possible with the Lakers trading JaVale McGee to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Unlike Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, McGee exercised his player option to initially remain with the Lakers. However, his decision was met by immediate trade speculation even prior to L.A. being linked to Gasol.
Gasol played in 44 games (43 starts) for the Toronto Raptors last season, averaging 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 26.4 minutes per game. Although the 35-year-old is not the same force he once was with the Memphis Grizzlies, Gasol is a capable post defender, excellent passer and able to help spread the floor.
In 2013 he became the first European-born player to be named Defensive Player of the Year, and he is among the six players in NBA history with more than 6,000 career rebounds, 1,100 blocks and 350 3-pointers.
Gasol signing with the Lakers returns him to the organization his NBA career technically began with. They selected the Spaniard with the 48th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and later included his rights in a trade to acquire Pau Gasol from the Grizzlies.
Montrezl Harrell excited to join Lakers
Gasol is one of four newcomers the Lakers are anticipating playing a key role in their title defense. Perhaps most surprising of the group is Montrezl Harrell, who is coming off winning Sixth Man of the Year with the L.A. Clippers.
Harrell intimated the Clippers did not show much interest in re-signing him, whereas the Lakers were a far more aggressive suitor. “I felt it was the right decision for me. I talked to my family and this is where we decided we wanted to go. Simple as that,” he said.
“There’s no more thought process to it. I’m definitely going to be with a team that wanted me and with a group of guys that I feel that I’m going to gravitate well to, I’m going to build chemistry with fast. I’m going to try to get back into the same feeling they had this past year, which is another championship.”
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