After a month of speculation and rumors, the Los Angeles Lakers announced they traded Marc Gasol to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday afternoon.
The writing was on the wall for Gasol after the Lakers signed DeAndre Jordan in free agency as the team looked to replicate the success it had with its center rotation during the 2019-20 season. Gasol underwhelmed during the 2020-21 campaign and it was clear that the best decision for the two sides was to eventually part ways.
Gasol was under contract for one more year but instead of simply waiving him, Los Angeles was able to offload his salary to Memphis for the cost of a second-round pick and cash. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, the cost of doing business was their own unprotected 2024 second-rounder:
The Lakers sent their own 2024 second (no protection) and $250K cash to Memphis. https://t.co/OfLVy2CH2f
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) September 11, 2021
It is a bit of a steep price to pay to offload a minimal salary like Gasol’s, but the move saves the organization around $10 million in luxury tax. Although the Lakers were able to receive multiple second-round picks back in the Russell Westbrook deal, it is still perhaps not the best use of assets.
The Lakers scouting department has a proven track record of finding talent in the second round, so losing the pick is one less opportunity to restock the roster with cost-controlled players with upside. The hit rate is not very high, but losing the chance to take a swing on a young prospect might hurt at some point.
Ultimately, L.A. wanted to go in a different direction as it pertains to center and at least for Gasol, he gets to retire with the Grizzlies and spend time with his family in Spain. Even though he may not have produced the way the team and the fans would have liked, he was a good teammate throughout the year even after he was relegated to the bench midway through.
DeAndre Jordan excited to be with Lakers
Jordan is yet another veteran role player on the Lakers roster and when he sat down for his introductory press conference, he expressed how excited he was to be with the Purple and Gold.
“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.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!