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Lakers trade Marc Gasol back to Grizzlies after DeAndre Jordan signing

lakers marc gasol deandre jordan

The Los Angeles Lakers have traded Marc Gasol to the Memphis Grizzlies, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gasol will work with Memphis on a release, which will allow the three-time All-Star to return to Spain, thus presumably ending a stellar 13-year NBA career — the first 10+ of which came in Memphis.

The Lakers will send a 2024 second-round pick and cash to the Grizzlies, and will receive the draft rights to Wang Zhelin.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the deal will save the Lakers $9 million toward the luxury tax and give L.A. a $2.7 million trade exception. The Lakers now have two open roster spots.

Gasol, 36, averaged 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 52 games and shot 40% from three-point range during his one season in Los Angeles. He started the team’s first 38 games prior to the signing of Andre Drummond — a move Gasol was not pleased about. The Big Spaniard responded to the demotion by playing his best basketball of the season.

In recent weeks, speculation that Gasol would not return to the Lakers had picked up steam, despite Gasol initially indicating that he would return following the Tokyo Olympics.

Gasol’s fate was all but sealed when the team signed DeAndre Jordan, which was formalized on Thursday. The Lakers brought back Dwight Howard earlier in the offseason. Anthony Davis is expected to play more center in 2021-22.

Frankly, Gasol would seem to be a better fit with the 2021-22 Lakers than Jordan, as a floor-spacer and, simply, a more useful player at this stage of their respective careers.

The Barcelona native was drafted in the second round (No. 48) by the Lakers in 2007. His rights were traded to the Grizzlies as part of the package for his older brother, Pau, who promptly helped lead Los Angeles to three straight NBA Finals appearances and two titles. (The Lakers-Grizzlies partnership remains strong.)

Gasol averaged 14.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game over his career. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 2012-13 and won an NBA championship in 2019 with the Toronto Raptors.

Wang Zhelin is a 27-year old 7’0 footer from China whom the Grizzlies drafted No. 57 overall in 2016. He’s a four-time CBA All-Star and was the league’s MVP in 2019.