Friday, July 30

Lakers Rumors: LAL A Serious Suitor for Marc Gasol After Dwight Howards Exit – Bleacher Report

Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol reacts after making a shot and being fouled during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Atlanta. Toronto won 122-117.(AP Photo/John Amis)

John Amis/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly aren’t done adding this offseason and are now a “serious suitor” for center Marc Gasol, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Charania later added Gasol is “narrowing his focus” to the Lakers and the Toronto Raptors, noting Los Angeles is working to find ways to improve its offer. Per Charania, the Dallas Mavericks “are not expected” to be a destination for Gasol.

The Lakers reportedly lost Dwight Howard in free agency to the Philadelphia 76ers but have already signed Montrezl Harrell to upgrade the frontcourt. JaVale McGee is also set to return after opting into his contract for 2020-21.  

Anthony Davis is reportedly expected to re-sign with the NBA champions, too, although he could wait to sign a deal to determine the structure of his contract, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

There is still room for Gasol to help as another veteran who will mostly impact the defensive end, similar to Howard.

The 35-year-old set a career low with just 7.5 points per game last season with the Raptors, but he still played a key role while starting 43 of 44 games. He averaged 6.3 rebounds, 0.8 steals and 0.9 blocks per game in limited playing time.

His defensive prowess was especially felt during the 2018-19 postseason as the Raptors brought home their first NBA title.

Gasol was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2012-13 and will bring this pedigree to a new team this offseason.

For Los Angeles, it could further help a unit that ranked No. 3 in the NBA in defensive rating in 2019-20.

Gasol can contribute offensively when necessary, as the three-time All-Star was once an elite offensive center with the Memphis Grizzlies. He has improved his outside shooting in recent years, averaging 1.4 made threes per game with a 36.6 three-point percentage from 2016-20. 

The Spaniard’s offensive skill set offers something Howard and McGee do not and may make the Lakers even stronger as they look to defend their title in 2020-21.

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