Just when it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers were done making big moves this offseason, they pulled off another one. With Dwight Howard signing with the Philadelphia 76ers after he was expected to re-sign with the Lakers, the team needed a big man. The free-agent market for bigs quickly dried up, but the Lakers did have an appealing option. They wanted to sign Marc Gasol, and they were able to make that happen.
They needed to make some cap space and they did that by trading JaVale McGee to the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Shortly after the trade news dropped, Wojnarowski revealed that the Lakers and Gasol agreed to a two-year deal.
The Lakers have been linked to Gasol since free agency started but couldn’t make the money work after signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Trading McGee made that possible and now Los Angeles gets their guy.
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Lakers Also Obtain 2 Other Cavaliers Players
As part of the McGee trade, the Lakers will receive some additional players. Per Wojnarowski, Cleveland is sending the team Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie.
Though he will probably be cut, this is a bit of a homecoming for Bell, who is from Los Angeles. He won a championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2018 and is heading to his fourth team as a pro. His chances of lasting on the Lakers are very low, but according to Rotowire, “the Lakers may elect to keep the 24-year-old center to provide depth at the center position.”
McKinnie also spent time with the Warriors but wasn’t part of any of their championship teams. He’s also likely to be let go in short order.
Gasol Returns to Team That Drafted Him
After more than a decade, Gasol finally has a chance to play for the team that drafted him. Back in 2007, the Lakers picked up Gasol in the second round of the draft. Despite his older brother Pau Gasol’s success in the NBA, not many teams were high on him. When Los Angeles traded for Pau Gasol, they sent Marc to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Marc was never as good as his brother, but he’s had a strong career. He’s made three All-Star teams and won his first championship last year. Similar to his brother, Marc is certainly on the downside of his career. He only averaged 7.5 points a game last year.
Fortunately, the Lakers definitely don’t need him to be a big scorer. When you have LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell on the roster, scoring isn’t as important. All the Lakers need Gasol to do is help defend the paint and pickup some rebounds. He’s never been one of the league’s elite defenders but he’s more than capable of being an asset. Gasol is also a solid 3-point shooter, which is something that McGee and Howard could not do. Gasol will bring the Lakers a little more diversity on offense and his strong family ties with the team make him a welcome addition.