From the Lakers disaster to his worst year in the NBA: Marc Gasol's future is unknown

Marc Gasol arrived at the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers as the icing on the cake for a project that aspired to dynasty. The gold and purple team wanted to surround LeBron James in the best possible way in order to enjoy the last years of the historic forward’s career. Together with him, assuming an increasingly important role in the squad, followed by Anthony Davis, the most dominant interior in the entire league if injuries respect him. Acquiring Gasol seemed like a safe bet: not only did he come with the experience of having 13 years in the NBA at a high level – and a ring included in his time as a center for the Toronto Raptors – but he also emerged as the perfect player to accept a complementary role of making others better regardless of your own stats. Something valued in the offices and changing rooms of the league.

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Less than seven months later, the fairy tale was transformed into a B-series horror movie. The Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the Playoffs to the Phoenix Suns by two games to four. The project falters and the figure of Marc, away from ownership as the season progressed, it is in between said. At 35, the Spanish pivot still has a guaranteed contract for next season at a rate of 2.7 million dollars, a veteran’s salary that makes him more than desirable for a possible transfer. The Los Angeles team is forced to go all-out to add a new ring while the gas lasts at LeBron, promising a buoyant market in the coming months.

After the elimination of the Lakers, all eyes turned to Andre Drummond – with permission from LeBron, who confirmed that he will not be at the Tokyo Olympics, joking that he would travel with the Looney Tunes to promote the next premiere of ‘Space Jam: New Legacy-. The center came through a buy-out two months ago from the Cleveland Cavaliers with two missions ahead. The first to relieve Marc Gasol, whose performance in the regular league has not convinced the franchise (5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists on average in 21 minutes per game, the worst figures of the Spanish career in the NBA)Second, to offer himself as a low-post banner when Davis has to be absent due to recurring physical problems. With his 2.08 meters, but a superior physical capacity, the North American averaged double digits during the regular phase as a laker (11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds), but without improving the team’s problems.

Drummond, during the series against the Suns. (Reuters)

Drummond will enter the free agency market with the Lakers as the best placed to retain the player As the franchise has slipped, the pivot is considered the cornerstone of the project to reign in the NBA, who they see as the perfect complement to Davis. Currently, the Angelenos have great room for maneuver in the economic aspect of the workforce. LeBron (41.1 million) and Davis (35.3 million), they will continue yes or yes to the orders of Frank Vogel. Only four players from the current squad have a valid contract, Kyle Kuzma, Kentaviuos Caldwell-Pope, Marc Gasol y Montrezl Harrell (this one with a player option who will have to decide whether to execute). Drummond, at 28, would renew with a salary always higher than 20 million per season.

The situation puts Marc in check, who has lived through the most bitter season since he arrived in the NBA in 2008 with a coronavirus infection that took him away from the park for several weeks. Despite the fact that he has had brilliant moments in the playoff series against Phoenix, the Spaniard is pointed out by Los Angeles fans as one of the reasons for the setback, although dressing room and sports management hide behind the numerous injuries suffered during the season, including those of LeBron and Davis. His figure still has a market in the best basketball league in the world –do not forget that Gasol is NBA champion, three times All-Star and once Best Defender of the Year– especially with a veteran’s salary. But it is not ruled out that the Lakers choose to retain the Spaniard as an inside rotation, despite the fact that his name was involved in transfer rumors months ago. Summer moved for the pivot, who has confirmed on several occasions your desire to be yes or yes at the Tokyo Olympics, where Sergio Scariolo has reserved the leadership of the Spanish team from the low post.

A bombshell for Barcelona?

It was the journalist par excellence of Spanish basketball, Antoni Daimiel, who alerted Spanish basketball of the possible move of the Barcelona Football Club in Sports Carousel. “I have no doubt that Juan Carlos Navarro will try by all means to convince Marc Gasol to return to Spain and play for Barcelona ”, assured the specialist. Navarro, who recently became the head of the basketball section at the Blaugrana club, has an excellent personal relationship with Marc. Of course, the figure of Pau Gasol -who has a contract until the end of this season, but failed in his great goal of achieving the Euroleague with the team of his love- seems decisive in this market movement.

Pau Gasol defends the Barcelona shirt. (Reuters)

The economic situation of Barcelona does not help optimism about this hypothetical return of Marc Gasol to his former team (he played for Barça between 2003 and 2006). But he would automatically become the most dominant center in Europe. Neither the Spanish has spoken about it, nor has Barça slipped information about this possibility. The still player of the Los Angeles Lakers has commented on different occasions his idea of retire playing for Basket Girona, a team that Marc himself founded in 2014 for his sense of involvement with basketball in the Catalan city. “I plan to retire at Girona, whatever category I am in. The club and the city is much more to me; I want to retire without looking where the team is “, said the pivot a year ago. Currently, the Girona team plays in group B of LEB Oro.

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