The writing has been on the wall for a while now, but the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly gone through with it in an official matter. They’ll be trading Marc Gasol back to the team that he first played for — the Memphis Grizzlies. He won’t be there that long though, as Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN also reports that Gasol and the Grizzlies will work together on a waiver and release to allow him to remain in Spain with his family. It remains to be seen whether Gasol will play professionally in Spain, if he will try a return to an NBA team at a later date, or if he will retire. But either way, his short time with the Lakers is now finished.
The Lakers have agreed to trade Marc Gasol, a 2024 second-round pick and cash to the Grizzlies for the draft rights to Wang Zhelin, sources tell ESPN. Deal saves Lakers $10M. Gasol and Grizzlies will work together on waiver and release to allow him to remain in Spain w/ family.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 10, 2021
The Lakers had to attach a second-round pick in 2024 as well as some cash to move off of the final year in Gasol’s deal. The Lakers receive the rights to Wang Zhelin in return, a Chinese player that the Grizzlies drafted in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft. Zhelin is yet to play in the NBA.
Per Eric Pincus, the Lakers will also receive a $2.6 million trade exception that can take in $2.7 million in salary. The team will have the ability to use that for a year.
It seems as though that the Lakers only recently decided to let Gasol go, if the OC Register’s Kyle Goon is accurate with his reporting below:
Following the DeAndre Jordan acquisition, writing was on the wall for Marc. One characterization I heard last week was the Lakers were waiting for a sign that Gasol was invested and excited to play another season with them. They were linked to Jordan soon after.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) September 10, 2021
After a rocky season with the Lakers that included Marc Gasol having an inconsistent amount of minutes night-to-night, he’s now gone. As I said previously, the writing has been on the wall for a while now with reports in recent weeks that Gasol wouldn’t be on the team much longer. That belief was only strengthened in the past week as the team eventually signed DeAndre Jordan. With Jordan and Dwight Howard on the roster, it was always going to be unlikely that the Lakers kept a third center on the roster in Gasol.
Gasol may have only played for the Lakers in one, overall disappointing season. But even with the inconsistent playing time, he was always a consummate professional. In addition to that, it’s never fun to lose a Gasol in the Lakers organization.
Good luck to Gasol and whatever next chapter comes in his career and/or life!