With the Los Angeles Lakers’ signing of DeAndre Jordan becoming official on Thursday, Marc Gasol’s time with the organization seemed to be coming to an end.
Gasol had an up-and-down first season with the team and has been in trade rumors all offseason as the Lakers completely reshuffled their frontcourt this summer.
With the additions of Jordan and Dwight Howard, the Lakers no longer viewed Gasol as a player worthy of minutes in their center rotation. That is now official as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that the Lakers are trading Gasol to the Memphis Grizzlies along with a draft pick in exchange for the draft rights to Wang Zhelin as a way to save salary:
The Lakers have agreed to trade Marc Gasol, a 2024 second-round pick and cash to the Grizzlies for the draft rights to Wang Zhelin, sources tell ESPN. Deal saves Lakers $10M. Gasol and Grizzlies will work together on waiver and release to allow him to remain in Spain w/ family.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 10, 2021
While Gasol potentially could have had a role as a floor-stretching big that can also pass, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the Lakers wanted to go in a different direction with rim protectors like Jordan and Howard, which was a similar model they followed when they won the championship in 2020.
As Wojnarowski reported, Gasol is expected to be waived by the Grizzlies and stay with his family in Spain, so his NBA playing days could be over after 13 seasons, 11 of which were spent in Memphis.
This marks the second time the Lakers have traded Gasol to the Grizzlies with the first, of course, being the blockbuster deal that brought his brother Pau to L.A.
It remains to be seen if Zhelin is just a throw-in or someone the Lakers actually have interest in, but the 27-year-old center that plays in China was a second-round pick (57th overall) of the Grizzlies in 2016.
With Gasol no longer in the fold though, the Lakers now have one more roster spot to hand out if they plan to go into the season with 14 players as expected.
Jordan discusses role with Lakers
Now that Gasol is no longer with the team, the center rotation will be a combination of Jordan and Howard, as well as Anthony Davis.
At his introductory press conference, Jordan discussed what role he expects to fill with the Lakers.
“First of all, I’m extremely excited. I want to thank everybody for this opportunity. I think that my role for any team that I’m on pretty much stays the same. I’m coming in to defend the basketball, try to change shots and alter shots at the rim, rebound the basketball, get my teammates open as best as possible and keep possessions alive for us and be a great force on both ends of the basketball floor and be a great locker room guy. That’s pretty much been my niche and my thing that I bring to every team that I’m on and I’m excited to get here and get to work with these guys. Being able to have multiple log threats now again with this team is going to be great, especially with the playmakers that we have and the unselfish guys that we have on this team, it’s going to be great.
“And to be able to space the floor a little bit with guys playing in the dunker and having, like I said, multiple playmakers and shooters spaced. So I think at times, we’re going to play big, at times we’re going to play small. It’s obviously whatever the game is needing at that moment in time, we’re going to be able to adjust to that because we’re so versatile.”
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