As many basketball fans often bring up as a bit of trivia, Marc Gasol was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 48 pick in 2007 NBA Draft.
However, Gasol spent the 2007-08 NBA season with the Spanish team Girona where he won the ACB’s Most Valuable Player Award. And in the midst of that season, the Lakers made a trade at the approaching trade deadline that would change the fates of two franchises.
The Lakers sent Gasol’s draft rights, Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron Mckie, and two first round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for Pau Gasol.
The trade ended up working out for both teams, but Gasol still remembers his brief time with the Lakers as a stashed European prospect, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:
Marc Gasol on being a Laker, briefly: "Yeah for a few, couple of months I was, I guess. They sent me oversized sweaters and stuff. You could say I was a Laker (laughs). I was not on the payroll though." Said he visited Pau at Finals to soak it all in once back in the day.
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) May 26, 2019
The younger Gasol technically never spent a single day, was never signed to a contract, and therefore was never paid by the Lakers.
However, by being a part of the deal that got the Lakers his brother, he did make a very important contribution to the Lakers. The oldest Gasol won two championships in three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and built a lifelong friendship with Kobe Bryant.
Meanwhile, the younger Gasol spent 11 seasons with the Grizzlies, getting to the playoffs six times with one conference finals appearance. He also broke nearly every Grizzlies franchise record that was previously held by his brother as he and Mike Conley became the greatest duo in Grizzlies history.
Gasol was eventually traded to the Toronto Raptors when it became clear that winning games were no longer in the franchise’s best interest — effectively starting a full rebuild. Gasol has played stellar basketball with the Raptors and has been a huge part in the team’s first NBA Finals appearance.
It’s definitely fun to look at the what-ifs of Gasol staying in Los Angeles and never getting traded for his brother, but history seems to have played out in favor of both Gasols and both franchises.