As the Lakers move toward officially adding DeAndre Jordan, what does it mean for Marc Gasol?
The Los Angeles Lakers are building a lineup of big names this offseason (Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo), with age nothing but number in the pursuit of titles. Now, after the Nets traded him to the Pistons and Detroit buys him out, the Lakers are expected to sign DeAndre Jordan once he clears waivers.
The Lakers have plenty of depth at center. They plan to use Anthony Davis there more, with Howard and Marc Gasol now set to be joined by Jordan. So much for surrounding LeBron James and Westbrook with more shooting.
What does the Lakers signing DeAndre Jordan mean for Marc Gasol?
Jordan and Howard on the Lakers should inspire the Spider-Man faceoff GIF. They are clones of each other from a skill set perspective (as in, both never evolved their offensive games beyond within feet of the basket). Jordan is a couple years younger, but the Lakers will soon have two big men who offer the same, limited things.
Jovan Buha of The Athletic has pointed to the Lakers’ move to add Jordan as meaning Gasol is likely gone.
Before adding Jordan surfaced publicly as a possibility, NBA insider Marc Stein reported Gasol was not a lock to return to the Lakers next season.
“I’m hearing that Marc Gasol is not a lock to return to the Lakers, even after Gasol said following Spain’s quarterfinal loss to the United States in the Olympics that he intends to play out the final year of the two-year deal he signed with Los Angeles. It’s not yet clear if that means Gasol is poised to be set free to play elsewhere in the NBA or if he would ultimately opt to finish his career in his home country like brother Pau.”
Gasol is not a spring chicken himself, at 36 years old. But he is still a good passer, and he can actually shoot from beyond five feet from the basket (41 percent from 3-point range last season). There’s a strong argument that broad skill set makes him a great fit for this Lakers roster. But the front office is intent on taking away his minutes in favor of big men who take up but don’t create space (Andre Drummond, Howard and now Jordan).
After the Olympics, Gasol confirmed he would return for the second year of his contract with the Lakers. He’s fully guaranteed to make $2.7 million next season. But his tune seems to have changed based on Stein’s report, and the Lakers are changing the circumstance as they await being able to officially sign Jordan.
Gasol could retire, or he could ask the Lakers to either trade or release him. He could also choose to keep playing, but finish his career back home in Spain. Maybe the move to sign Jordan is coming with the expectation Gasol is going to be gone, one way or another. It wouldn’t make much sense otherwise. But if the Lakers are pushing him out of the mix in favor of Jordan, Gasol would definitely draw interest from other NBA teams if he wants to play.