The Los Angeles Lakers are rounding out their roster with veterans who are hoping to help the team win a second straight championship. They may have just signed the biggest prize left on the open market. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the team has acquired veteran center Marc Gasol on a two-year deal to shore up their frontcourt after the departure of Dwight Howard. Gasol joins Montrezl Harrell as a new big man to join Anthony Davis at those positions for the purple and gold.
In order to give Gasol a two-year contract at the veteran minimum, the Lakers are trading last year’s starter, JaVale McGee, to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs will also receive a second round pick as compensation for helping the Lakers finalize their move.
The Lakers will receive Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie in return for McGee. Reports suggest that the team will keep McKinnie on a guaranteed deal while Bell will be waived and have his guarantee stretched.
According to Charania, there will not be a player or team option on the second year of Gasol’s deal which pays the big man 5.6 million over its entirety.
Gasol averaged 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game last year for the Toronto Raptors in 26.4 minutes per game. While not the same player as he was in Memphis for many years, Gasol’s inclusion to the Raptors’ roster at the trade deadline two years ago was a major boost that contributed to their championship run.
Drafted in 2007 in the second round by the Lakers, Gasol never played for the franchise as his draft rights were traded to the Grizzlies for his brother Pau. The Lakers won two championships with Pau before Marc emerged as one of the best centers in the league.
Gasol is known primarily for his sweet passing out of the post but he has also always been a phenomenal defender, as well, winning the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013.
Gasol was recruited by other contenders such as the Clippers and Warriors as well as a push by the Raptors after losing Serge Ibaka as well.