The Los Angeles Lakers signed Marc Gasol to a two-year, $5.3 million contract this past week. Despite a strong push by the Toronto Raptors to retain their talented center, he opted to join the champs instead.
On Wednesday, Gasol opened up about what went into his decision to sign with the Lakers over the Raptors. Ultimately, it “boiled down to winning another championship” before the end of his career. He felt like LA gave him the better chance for that.
“It was tough,” he admitted. “It was very hard. The first couple days were tough for me but once you kind of decide what you want to do next or how you want to go about your next challenge, I thought the right thing to do was go with the Lakers.”
Although Gasol is excited about what’s to come, he acknowledged that he will very much miss the city he has called home for the last two years.
“I’m going to miss Toronto,” he said.
“It’s been a great place. My family was very settled there, very comfortable… That’s just the way, sadly, this business goes, but I thought my run in Toronto could not get better.”
Likewise, Gasol indicated that he was going to miss the teammates with whom he had won his first career NBA championship with.
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 23, 2020
“I told my teammates that remain there how much they meant to me… I’m gonna miss them a lot, I can’t lie to you, because we went though something together that’s very unique, very special and creates a bond forever. And no one can take that away from us.”
Gasol initially landed with the Raptors back in 2018, when the Memphis Grizzlies traded him for a package consisting of Jonas Valanciunas, C.J. Miles, Delon Wright, and a future second-round pick.
Against all odds, Gasol and Toronto made it to the NBA Finals in 2019 and defeated the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship.
Paulina Gretzky has taken Masters victory celebrations to a new level. https://t.co/K1yliTiGao
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 22, 2020
Now Gasol will aim to bring some of that pedigree to a Lakers team fresh off winning a title of their own.
For what it’s worth, it seems like LeBron James is very excited about the prospect of getting to work in LA.
Last year Gasol averaged 7.5 points on 42.7 percent shooting from the field and 38.5 percent from beyond the arc, along with 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. His 2019-20 three point percentage was the second-highest of his entire career.
The big question for Gasol this season will be his health. If he can remain healthy at age 35, he is a huge upgrade from Dwight Howard. However, if his years start catching up with him, LA will need to come up with a Plan B in the middle.
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