The Los Angeles Lakers want to be big players in free agency this summer, and the front office is preparing an offer for unrestricted free agent big man Marc Gasol, according to Michael Wallace of ESPN. Gasol is one of the top players available this summer, and is one of the few maximum-contract worthy unrestricted options on the board, making him the top target for various teams.
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Gasol, of course, was drafted by the Lakers with the 48th-overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft. The Lakers stashed him for a season before trading him to the Memphis Grizzlies for his brother, Pau. Los Angeles would do well bringing in the former Defensive Player of the Year, and he could be the anchor of a frontcourt with Julius Randle.
The Lakers have the challenge of selling their franchise as a destination for established players, especially one like Marc who's been in five straight playoff runs with the Grizzlies -- the only team that has the ability to offer Gasol a five-year contract worth approximately $109 million via his bird rights. Los Angeles has salary space to make a maximum-level four-year contract, but no team can match the total value Memphis can. The recent downswing of the franchise could be a road block as well.
The Spurs, Knicks and Mavericks are also planning on making a push for Gasol, while the Grizzlies will make retaining their franchise center their "top priority," according to Wallace:
Gasol is in the final season of a contract extension that expires at the end of June, and the two-time All-Star and former NBA defensive player of the year is expected to be one of the top targets on the market. The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks all are developing proposals to present to Gasol when the free-agency recruiting period opens July 1, according to multiple league sources.
Jimmy Butler is another player the Lakers have been linked to, but the 2015 Most Improved Player is a restricted free agent and the Bulls will undoubtedly match any offer sheet. Another report links Los Angeles to DeAndre Jordan. It makes sense that the Lakers are "interested" in essentially all of the top talent available, but things won't clear up until free agency officially begins on July 1.