The Los Angeles Lakers signed Marc Gasol last year in hopes that he would be able to fill a role similar to the one Dwight Howard played during their championship-winning 2020 campaign.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Gasol couldn’t quite meet those expectations. Although he was utilized well and performed reasonably decently in the first round of the playoffs, outside of that, his Lakers stint was largely a bust.
When it was all said and done Gasol averaged 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in the regular season, and 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the playoffs.
Because Gasol originally signed a two-year deal for $5 million, there was initially an expectation that he’d return next season and help the newly re-signed Howard offset some of loss LA experienced when Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell left town.
As it turns out, that may not end up happening.
This week, NBA insider Marc Stein dropped something of a bomb: Gasol appears to be changing his mind regarding returning to LA next year.
“One more Lakers roster note: 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,” he wrote.
“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.”
LaMelo Ball emerges as an early frontrunner for the 2021-22 NBA MVP Award. https://t.co/sSeA2JNkAf
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 18, 2021
Last season Gasol got brutally honest about how his Lakers experience wasn’t what he had hoped it would be. In fact, he got quite emotional about it.
When Alex Caruso’s parting gift to Gasol essentially ensured that he could finish out his career in LA, most figured he’d take the opportunity. Now, that is very much in doubt.
Watch this space. Gasol’s decision on his Lakers future will have a significant impact on the team’s free agency plans going forward.