Marc Gasol was initially believed to have played his last NBA game following rumors of a homecoming with FC Barcelona next year.
Luckily for NBA fans, people close to the Spanish center have since refuted these claims and he will stay on American soil for the foreseeable future.
The big question, however, is where exactly will Gasol’s next pitstop be? The 6-foot-11 slotman played the final year of his contract for the Toronto Raptors and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
While Toronto would love to have the 3-time All-Star back to the fold, Gasol would likely have more lucrative offers from other contending teams.
Despite his advanced age at 35 years old, Marc Gasol’s skill set is still is as rare as they come in this league. Not a lot of centers can pass, shoot, and defend at such a high rate and impact winning as the Spaniard does.
Marc Gasol did notch career-lows across the board this season, tallying just 7.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.3 assists, while shooting 42.7 percent from the field and 38.5 from downtown in 44 regular-season games.
Don’t let those numbers fool you, he still has a lot left in the tank.
Apart from the numerous individual accomplishments, Marc Gasol also joined his brother Pau in the ranks of an NBA champion, becoming a vital cog to the Raptors’ title conquest in 2019.
There’s still a lot of NBA teams who would pay a premium to have Gasol’s leadership and championship experience. Here are the three best free-agent destinations for Marc Gasol.
The Celtics could have been the ones to emerge out of the East this year had they had a talented center to hold the fort. Daniel Theis gave them valuable production this year, but it seems he’s better suited as a back-up moving forward.
Boston head coach Brad Stevens runs a lot of intricate plays on both sides of the ball, and having Marc Gasol around would open up a lot of possibilities for them.
His amazing intuition could create a lot of opportunities on the high post. While Marc Gasol was never considered an elite shot-blocker, the former Defensive Player of the Year is a terrific position defender. Plus, Gasol is another abled wide body who could have helped slow down Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo in that ECF showdown.
While he likely won’t be making any more All-Star teams in the future, Marc is best suited as a fourth or even fifth option on offense these days. That won’t be a problem in Beantown with their three-headed monster of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker.
Money might be an issue for Cs, but Marc Gasol will likely be open to a pay-cut for a shot a second NBA title.
The Mavs are obviously not lacking international flavor with their two best players Luka Donic and Kristaps Porzingis. Adding a European OG like Marc Gasol would definitely spice things up in the Big D and elevate them to contender status next season.
While the 7-foot-3 Porzingis is more than capable of anchoring Dallas’ interior, it would be wise for him to play at the 4 alongside a proven banger in Marc Gasol. Given the Latvian star’s history of injuries, the Mavs can emulate the Lakers’ approach in having Anthony Davis playing alongside another 7-footer in the starting unit.
Marc Gasol and Porzingis both possess the length to be intimidating disruptors on the defensive end. Both can also hit the long ball, giving Doncic more room to operate.
Plus, can you imagine how crazy good a Doncic-Marc Gasol tandem would be? Their fantastic court vision and basketball IQ alone guarantees exciting basketball in Dallas. Gasol’s playmaking skills also takes some load off on Doncic, who practically carried the Mavs throughout the entire 2019-20 campaign.
While Marc Gasol would likely have a better chance of winning it all with other more established contenders, Dallas does have a bit more to offer money-wise. The Mavs have mid-level and biannual exceptions next season, which they could use on Gasol.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors will pretty much try to persuade every available big man on the market since they badly need help in that regard.
While the Dubs might prioritize another Raptor free agent in Serge Ibaka, they also can’t go wrong with Marc Gasol as a fallback option.
Golden State is filled to the brim with shooters, and they simply need a great passing big to locate these snipers. While Draymond Green already fills that void, there’s really no such thing as too much playmakers in today’s game.
Moreover, Marc Gasol is an elite screen setter, allowing the Raptors to score the most points off of screens and cuts this year. The Dubs play a similar style. In fact, they actually have more equipped guys like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who can make it rain from all the free looks they’ll get from Gasol.
If the Warriors do land Marc Gasol, they will no longer get bullied in the paint — which was the bane of their existence in the 2019-20 campaign. The NBA champion center gives them that legitimate anchor that they always had during their title reign.
The Golden State brass, however, might have to clear some space in order to give Marc Gasol a respectable offer.