On Sunday morning, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Los Angeles Lakers had become a “serious suitor” for Marc Gasol as they search for another free agent center as part of their offseason overhaul, and now he writes that Gasol has narrowed his free agency choices down to the Lakers and incumbent Toronto Raptors:
Mavericks emerged as a finalist for Marc Gasol in recent days, sources said. He's now narrowed his choices: Lakers or Raptors. Los Angeles working on avenues to increase its salary offer. https://t.co/yQQvQD1iP1— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 22, 2020
If the Raptors lose Gasol, they reportedly may go after another Lakers target: Markieff Morris. Morris reportedly wants to stay with the Lakers (who also want to keep him) but some money from Toronto might sway things. However, Marc Stein of the New York Times also reports that the Lakers are looking to move JaVale McGee so they can increase their offer to Gasol.
The Lakers, league sources say, have explored trading away JaVale McGee to create more financial flexibility to make a more competitive financial offer to Marc Gasol— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 22, 2020
The Knicks have emerged as a potential trade partner for the Lakers in a JaVale McGee deal, league sources say, as LA explores its various options— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 22, 2020
If talks progress, New York would surely require at least one additional asset from the Lakers to take McGee into salary-cap space
Speaking of assets, it is perhaps worth noting here that the Knicks badly wanted Kyle Kuzma back at the trade deadline.
As things stand, the Lakers are currently hard capped after officially signing Wesley Matthews on Sunday, and can only offer veteran’s minimum deals. That would change, however, if they’re able to get off of the $4 million they currently owe McGee by salary dumping him to a team that needs a center. Or, theoretically by giving McGee to the Raptors in a sign-and-trade for Gasol in a deal that would at least allow the Raptors to get back some of the center depth they were losing:
1/2 As my colleague @DannyLeroux points out, Lakers not only need to move JaVale McGee to get Gasol more than minimum, but have to do it in a sign-and-trade that sends Gasol back from Toronto.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) November 22, 2020
2/2 UNLESS, that is, the Lakers are just trying to generate the $1M or so in wiggle room necessary to sign Gasol to a two-year minimum deal with a second-year player option.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) November 22, 2020
Lakers using BAE on Matthews and MLE on Montrezl wouldn't have any way to pay Marc more than the min directly.— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 22, 2020
Sign and trade is 3 years min, no options on those 3 but last 2 can be non guaranteed re Gasol.— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 22, 2020
A McGee trade would make it a little easier to re-sign Markieff above minimum via non-bird— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 22, 2020
Though that depends on how much Gasol would get, all projections currently until true numbers come in— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) November 22, 2020
There are obviously a lot of moving parts here, but this is a promising development for the Lakers on multiple fronts. They obviously would want to keep Morris too, but getting Gasol would give them the kind of bulkier, physical and tough defender they’re missing after the departure of Dwight Howard. He is the best name on the market left to fill that role, so managing to get him would be a coup for Rob Pelinka and the front office.
This developing story will update with more information as it continues to trickle out.
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.