Ahead of NBA free agency beginning Friday afternoon, Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said he would look to strike a balance of maintaining continuity within the roster but also improving.
That process had already begun days prior, as the Lakers reached an agreement with the Oklahoma City Thunder to acquire Dennis Schroder in a trade for Danny Green and the No. 28 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft that went on to become Jaden McDaniels.
Then shortly after free agency began, the Lakers and Wesley Matthews reportedly agreed to a one-year contract. There also appeared to be a pact for Dwight Howard to return, but he quickly deleted a tweet and went on to reach a reported agreement with the Philadelphia 76ers.
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Lakers now are keying in on signing Marc Gasol as a replacement to Howard:
Marc Gasol has emerged as a free-agent target for the Lakers to fill the void created by Dwight Howard's departure to Philadelphia, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 21, 2020
The 35-year-old is no longer producing at the level he once did for the Memphis Grizzlies, but remains a serviceable big man and is coming off a bubble performance in which he slimmed down.
Gasol would figure to form a tandem with JaVale McGee, much like he and Howard did this past season. Gasol averaged 6.3 rebounds per game and also shot effectively from deep, connecting on 38.5% of his attempts behind the arc.
Lakers options at center
In addition to Gasol, the Lakers have been linked to Serge Ibaka and Tristan Thompson. There also is the possibility of a reunion with DeMarcus Cousins. Ibaka could wind up signing a more lucrative contract than what the Lakers are able to offer, which could ultimately lead them to Gasol.
It would represent a homecoming of sorts, as he was drafted by the Lakers in 2007 and included in their blockbuster trade with the Grizzlies to acquire Pau Gasol.
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