The Toronto Raptors saw that they needed to add a rim-protecting center to the squad in 2019 to really put them over the top, and they found their man in Marc Gasol, acquiring him from the Grizzlies in a deal that sent Jonas Valanciunas and Delon Wright to Memphis.
While Gasol didn’t put up the same offensive numbers that made him an All-Star, he quickly became a fan favorite for his ability to rebound, play exceptional defense, and kick the ball out to wide-open teammates on the perimeter. It’s hard to say for sure if they would’ve won that title in 2019 without him.
While Gasol was supposed to be able to provide that same blend of defense and post play with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he was clearly not performing at the same level. After re-acquiring Dwight Howard and adding DeAndre Jordan following his Nets buyout, the Lakers decided to dump Gasol as well.
The Lakers agreed to trade Gasol back to the Grizzlies along with a second-round pick in exchange for the draft rights for Wang Zhelin. Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Gasol and the Grizzlies will work together on a waiver and release, which could allow him to stay with his family in Spain.
If Gasol is considering going overseas at age 36, this may be the end of his NBA career.
Is Toronto Raptors champion Marc Gasol staying with Memphis?
While Gasol was a three-time All-Star during his time in Memphis, he had to make a major sacrifice in on-court box score production when he came to Toronto. 8.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game might not sound like much, but Gasol was instrumental in defending the paint against some elite competition in the East.
Unfortunately, with Father Time remaining undefeated, Gasol started to look slower and stiffer with the Lakers this season, as his 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game averages were by far the worst marks he amassed in his career.
With brother Pau Gasol currently plying his trade for their hometown club in Barcelona alongside former NBA starter Nikola Mirotic, Gasol could land on his feet back in Spain. After last year, he might have a hard time finding work with contenders.
If this is the end for Gasol in the NBA, he can leave knowing that he achieved statistical success with Memphis before becoming a champion and Raptors star in Toronto. If he wants to make one last run at the NBA, we can only hope he lands with a contender who can help him get ring No. 2.