It has recently been reported that Marc Gasol “is not a lock to return to the Lakers”. This report is coming from NBA reporter Marc Stein. Gasol signed a two-year contract last season on the minimum and it seemed he was ready for his second year with the team.
After Spain lost in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Gasol confirmed that he will return to the team for the 2021-22 season. According to Marc Stein, there is a possibility that he could join another team in the NBA or finish his career in Spain like his brother Pau Gasol.
As I’m sure Lakers fans are aware, this is worrying news.
Gasol is a valuable member of the squad, who many Lakers fans expect to have regained his spot as the starting center. He lost the starting spot when the Lakers signed Andre Drummond last season after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Lakers’ offense is at its best with Gasol on the court. He is reliable with the ball in his hands as he is a great passer capable of feeding good cuts to the basket. He makes the Lakers’ offense significantly more effective than when you compare it with Drummond in the lineup.
Not only does he offer great passing, but he also offers space. This is one of the most important aspects of the game for the Lakers this year due to the addition of Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is at his best when he is surrounded by three-point shooters, so he can drive and kick out to reliable shooters.
Gasol shot 41.1% from beyond the arc last year on 2.3 attempts. Having a big that can knock down shots when needed will help Westbrook and the Lakers offense as a whole this coming season. Gasol’s elite passing and ability to knock down shots make him very valuable and almost irreplaceable. Not to mention he is on a small contract which would make it almost impossible for the Lakers to trade for someone on his level.
He isn’t athletic or a great shot blocker, but he has great basketball IQ and defensive awareness.
Keeping him in the team would be one of the most important moves of the Lakers’ offseason. They already don’t have great depth at the five position, so letting a big man like Gasol go would be bad for the team.
Though it does seem like Anthony Davis is willing to play the five, having depth at the center position is still important in case Davis doesn’t play the five often during the regular season.
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