After clearing space by salary dumping JaVale McGee on the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to terms on a deal that will see them bring in one of the best centers available in NBA free agency. According to multiple reports, Marc Gasol is going to follow in his older brother Pau’s footsteps and become a Laker:
Marc Gasol is finalizing a deal to sign with the Lakers, sources tell me and @ZachLowe_NBA.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 23, 2020
The contract will be for two years, according to ESPN.
The Lakers only have the $2.7M veteran minimum exception.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 23, 2020
The move helps clear money toward the hard cap but does not give more money for Gasol.
The Lakers already used the $9.3M midlevel and $3.6M biannual exception.
The rationale behind the McGee trade is the second year in the Gasol contract.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 23, 2020
Signing a one-year contract would have been a $1.6M cap hit.
Signing a two-year deal and LAL takes on the full $2.6M hit.
$1M difference can go along way when dealing with the hard cap.
The Lakers first showed interest in Gasol — who they drafted in 2007 but traded the rights to before ever signing — on the first night of free agency after Dwight Howard left for the Philadelphia 76ers. They then began investigating ways to trade McGee to free up room to sign him, and within hours, they had found a deal that allowed them to bring the seven-foot Spaniard to Los Angeles.
Now that he’s in a Lakers uniform, Gasol can instantly provide some of the physicality the Lakers lost with Howard’s departure, and is a deft and creative passer that will help the Lakers with his offensive skills as well. Even if he is not what he once was on either end of the floor, he’s still, really, really good.
Gasol averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per contest last season, all while shooting 38.5% from deep on 3.4 attempts per game. He hasn’t lost much on defense, either, as his defensive box plus-minus of +2.8 was the second-best of his career, and other advanced metrics still love him on both ends.
And it goes beyond sentimental reasons, Gasol even at 35, was still DAMN good on defense last year. Here is how he ranked among centers in key defensive impact data:— Alex Regla (@AlexmRegla) November 23, 2020
DefRAPTOR: 5th https://t.co/AnOErPyRlF
Synergy's defensive metrics are pretty wonky but Gasol ranked— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) November 23, 2020
- 91st percentile overall defensively
- 79th percentile against PnR ballhandlers
- 88th percentile against single high PnRs
Other sites/stats back up that his defense is still great.
This is a great signing considering the Lakers’ current cap situation, a cheap addition that gets them a player who is a clear upgrade on McGee — and probably on Howard, too. This is yet another move that makes the Lakers better on paper in an offseason full of them, and another great get for Rob Pelinka as he gets his roster ready to defend its title.
This developing story will be updated with more information. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.