The relationship between Marc Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers came to an abrupt conclusion last week.
After months and months of tumultuous back-and-forths LA traded the veteran center, a 2024 second-rounder and $250,000 in cash to the Memphis Grizzlies for the draft rights to Wang Zhelin.
So where did the relationship between Gasol and the Lakers go wrong?
It has been apparent for months now that it was trending in the wrong direction, and the reason why came to light on Monday.
According to Bill Oram of The Athletic, Gasol never got over LA’s decision last season to demote him in favor of Andre Drummond.
“This can only be looked at as a consequence of the Andre Drummond signing,” he wrote. “Promising him Gasol’s starting job and essentially demoting Gasol to third string created a rift that could not be resolved, despite Marc saying all the right things publicly in the immediate aftermath and this summer in Tokyo.
“So, not only did signing Drummond make the Lakers worse on the court last season, it also poisoned the relationship with a player who could have been useful for the team they’ve built this season. The Lakers were 24-11 with Gasol as the starter before Drummond’s arrival. Not saying he was perfect last year, or that he would have had the same impact this season, but it’s not ideal to have to use a draft pick to shed the salary of a guy you signed last season especially when that guy pencils out as a logical fit on your current team.”
Last week, the real reason LA opted to dump Gasol on the Grizzlies went public. It stirred up a lot of mixed emotions.
Dak Prescott stays winning. https://t.co/WN2voiN8k7
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 11, 2021
Gasol has obviously been very adamant and open about how disappointing his Lakers run was. And prior to the Grizzlies trade, he publicly expressed doubt about his desire to return for the second year of his LA deal. So none of this comes as a shock by any stretch of the imagination.
Still, it’s sad that a resolution between the two sides couldn’t be reached. Gasol would’ve been perfect for the 2021-22 Lakers team. Will the front office regret letting him go? Time will tell.