The Los Angeles Lakers have traded away another player that had the potential to be one of the few returning players from last season, as the team traded Marc Gasol, a second-round pick, and cash to the Memphis Grizzlies late last week. The move seemed to be a subsequent decision from the DeAndre Jordan signing, as the team would have been carrying three centers on the roster if they did not trade Gasol. The team has not done that since LeBron James came into the fold prior to the 2018-19 season.
However, if the following report from The Athletic’s Bill Oram is true, it sounds like at least one member of the organization will be sad to see Gasol go.
I don't know. Maybe, just maybe, this is a lesson that you shouldn't always chase the shiny new thing. Marc Gasol is a floor-spacing big the Lakers could use in lineups with Russell Westbrook. As a team source said during the recent standoff with Gasol, "He could really help us."
— Bill Oram (@billoram) September 10, 2021
Oram goes on to speculate that Andre Drummond’s signing ultimately sealed the deal on Marc Gasol not returning for the 2021-22 season. Gasol was forced out of his starting job, a job he held for nearly all of the season up until that point. Of course, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were dealing with their respective injuries at the time of Drummond’s signing which led to Gasol still getting playing time, but by that point the damage may have already been done to the relationship between the Lakers and Gasol.
It would be interesting to find out where in the organization this source lies. Is the source an assistant coach currently on the staff? Is it a front office executive that works under Rob Pelinka? Is it the Staples Center janitor? It would reveal a lot to find out who this source is, but that’s journalism, baby.
Either way, it shows that at least one person in the organization not only wanted to keep Gasol on the roster, but that source also believed that Gasol was good enough to make the Lakers better. That might not be because of Gasol’s overall talent level, but more likely because Gasol presents another spacing option on a team with limited shooting up-and-down the roster.
The relationship between the team and Gasol couldn’t be salvaged, or the Lakers just didn’t value Gasol as much as that source or the rest of Lakers fans who seemed annoyed to see him go. Either way, the team will move on after having another complicated ending to their relationship with a Gasol.