As it currently stands, the Los Angeles Lakers have 12 players under contract, with three open spots remaining on the roster. While the team is reportedly looking at adding another guard and possibly a wing, it would seem as if the big man rotation is set with Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol returning, along with the return of Dwight Howard.
At the beginning of the offseason, it was unclear whether Gasol would be returning to the Lakers, but following his run in the Olympics with Spain, he announced that he would be back to finish his two-year contract. But apparently, just because he has intentions of returning, that still isn’t a guarantee.
According to Marc Stein on his Substack (subscription needed), he has heard that Gasol is not a lock to return to the Lakers and could wind up finishing his career elsewhere:
“I’m hearing that Marc Gasol is not a lock to return to the Lakers, even after Gasol said following Spain’s quarterfinal loss to the United States in the Olympics that he intends to play out the final year of the two-year deal he signed with Los Angeles. It’s not yet clear if that means Gasol is poised to be set free to play elsewhere in the NBA or if he would ultimately opt to finish his career in his home country like brother Pau.”
This would be a bit of a surprise and would seem to be a sign that the Lakers could have another move on the horizon. The Lakers have been about depth and lineup flexibility, so if Gasol is potentially on the way out, it could be because someone else is on their way to the Lakers as they wouldn’t go into the season with only two big men.
Gasol had his ups and downs in his first season in Los Angeles, but his value was surely seen at the end of the season. Despite all of the changes that went on, it was clear that Gasol was their best option at center with his passing and shooting ability, and that fit remains on this new roster.
The major part of free agency is over, but the Lakers still have some moves to make, and everyone will be watching to see how it turns out.
Lakers expected to go into season with 14 players
For the time being, the Los Angeles Lakers have three open roster spots, but they aren’t expected to use them all. The franchise is expected to go into the season with 14 players on the roster, keeping one open for roster flexibility down the line.
The Lakers are always a key target in the buyout market, and an open spot makes it much easier for the front office to tinker with the roster as needed during the season.