Marc Gasol could have helped the 2021-22 Los Angeles Lakers.

However, Gasol's relationship with the Lakers organization — the one that drafted him in 2007 and for which his brother starred — soured after the Andre Drummond signing, culminating in the veteran being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. He'll negotiate a buyout and return to Spain, likely bringing his decorated 13-year NBA career to an end.

Gasol's presence probably would have not determined whether or not the Lakers raise their 18th banner in June. Still, it's an unfortunate development for Los Angeles.

Depending on how much center Anthony Davis plays, the Lakers could use another floor-spacing big (Kevin Love would eventually be a great fit, should he become available later in the season via buyout). At 36, Gasol is undoubtedly past his prime, but he remains a reliable shooter, elite positional defender, and expert disher. His instincts and IQ jelled with LeBron James.

In my opinion, Gasol would have been a far better fit than DeAndre Jordan on this Lakers squad and is simply a better player at this stage of their respective careers.

As The Athletic's Bill Oram noted, the Lakers spent a 2024 second-round pick to salary-dump a quality player who they signed one year ago — never ideal.

Let's recap Gasol's brief tenure in Los Angeles, and how, in Oram's words, the Lakers and Gasol's relationship was “poisoned.”

The Lakers began the 2020-21 season by winning 22 of their first 28 games before Davis got hurt on Feb. 14 — all of which Gasol started. In general, lineups with Gasol, Davis, and LeBron James were deeply effective in 2020-21, producing a +13.4 net rating. Overall, the Lakers were 28-14 in games Gasol started last season.

Yet, throughout the first half of last season, Gasol's lack of verticality and foot speed and oft-reluctance to let the three-ball fly made him the brunt of #LakersTwitter, and evidently the front office. By midseason, rumors swirled that the Lakers were eyeing an “upgrade” at the five. Andre Drummond's name was ubiquitous in the chatter.

After Gasol started the first 38 games of the season, the Lakers, as expected, inked Drummond from the buyout market on March 29 and instantly inserted him as the starter. We later learned the team promised Drummond the starting gig for the rest of the season. Gasol was essentially demoted to third-string duty and the fringes of the rotation.

To make matters worse, Gasol underwent a rough bout with COVID-19 around the same time, which caused him to miss six games.

By April, Gasol buyout buzz began to percolate. Fortunately for the Lakers, he stuck around (after the season, Gasol acknowledged that he may have negotiated a buyout “maybe if I didn’t have a family and I was 10 years younger.”)

Drummond instantly injured his toenail, causing Gasol to temporarily regain his starting spot.

On April 3, Gasol spoke to the media for the first time since Drummond's addition. He was professional but visibly frustrated.

“The way it looks,” Gasol said when asked what his week had been like. “Things get thrown at you and you have to adapt as quick as possible. And as you can imagine [sigh], it is what it is.”

“Things can change quickly in the NBA, just as they have changed for me,” he added. “But I’m committed to this team. It’s a hard pill to swallow because I know I’m going to be out of the lineup at some point. It’s never easy on a player…But, we’ll see. … it’s life, you have to adapt. Either you take it as a challenge, or you move on.”

During the season's final weeks, with the Lakers jockeying for playoff positioning while unsuccessfully attempting to integrate Drummond, Gasol played his most inspired basketball of the season.

Gasol made nearly 67% of his threes after April 12. He was a key sparkplug anytime he saw the floor. Clearly, he was the Lakers' best non-Anthony Davis option at the 5. Frank Vogel did his best to consistently hype up Gasol's importance and impact, but the words often fell flat as long as Drummond was starting.

In the Lakers' final contest of the season: their Game 6 loss to the Phoenix Suns, Gasol (who went scoreless) got the start. Drummond, for the first time in Los Angeles, was a healthy DNP.

At exit interviews, Gasol was all class when talking about his time with the Lakers. In retrospect, though, he sounded like a man who knew he may have played his last game in purple and gold.

“I came into this year with the mindset of enjoying every second of it, soaking everything in, and understanding what an honor it is to wear this jersey,” Gasol said. “Obviously, you guys know my family history with the team and how much it meant to Pau. So for me to be here and play for this team was an honor, and it is an honor. So I didn’t take it for granted for one second.”

Following the Tokyo Olympics, Gasol seemed to commit to the Lakers for 2021-22. However, just like they did with Drummond, the Lakers promptly went out and signed another veteran center, Dwight Howard.

At the end of August, Marc Stein reported that the Lakers and Gasol may be on the outs. According to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register, the Lakers were privately concerned that Gasol was not interested in returning.

Once DeAndre Jordan became a target for the Lakers, Gasol's fate in Los Angeles was sealed. Alas.

Congrats to Marc Gasol on a fabulous NBA career, which included three All-Star and two All-NBA selections, a Defensive Player of the Year award (2012-13), and a championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2019.

The Lakers — and the NBA — will miss him.