Marc Gasol’s time in Los Angeles never lived up to its potential last season. On paper, Gasol seemed like a great complementary frontcourt piece to Anthony Davis. But games aren’t played on paper, and for a number of reasons, the two hardly played with another and almost never were at full strength at the same time.
For Gasol, a bout with COVID sidelined him at the midway point of the season put him behind the eight ball and played a role in the Lakers bringing in Andre Drummond after a buyout with the Cavaliers. However, promises made to Drummond led to Gasol being on the outside looking in and irrevocably damaged the relationship between the franchise and the Spaniard.
Ultimately, that led to the Lakers moving on from Gasol this offseason, trading him to the Grizzlies where he will be bought out. And on Thursday, Dan Woike of the L.A. Times reported the latest details on how much the relationship between Gasol and the franchise had deteriorated:
The situation, by the end of the season, was toxic enough that multiple people with the Lakers felt like Gasol was undoubtedly on his way out following end-of-season meetings. It’s why there were those who didn’t believe it when Gasol said he planned on being back with the Lakers during a rough Olympics run with the Spanish national team. Now, it’s likely Gasol will join a team in Spain to continue his career.
The Lakers’ treatment of Gasol was not great during his time in Los Angeles. Particularly, promising a starting role he had held down to a buyout signing that wasn’t even a certain upgrade is a very worthy reason for Gasol to be upset. And even after expressing his frustration, Gasol stuck around and tried his best the remainder of the regular season and postseason.
However, as poorly as the Lakers may have treated him, Gasol was far from the player he once was last season. The Lakers were not wrong to look for an upgrade, promises of starting positions aside. The playoffs exposed how far Gasol had fallen defensively as he was routinely targeted while on the floor against the Suns.
So for as good as things may have looked on paper, and no matter how great the potential feel-good story of having Gasol back in Los Angeles was, the partnership was never meant to be. In a different, COVID-less season under different circumstances, the whole situation may have played out differently. In this one, though, it ended in a messy divorce after a complicated season together.
Let us know what you think in the comments below, and for more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.