Even though the NBA season just ended, the Los Angeles Lakers are gearing up for their title defense. There are going to be a lot of new faces but LeBron James seems hyped up about it. He has a bit of a history with new Laker Marc Gasol due to the fact that he won the Defensive Player of the Year over the superstar in 2013.
In a recent appearance on Spectrum Sportsnet, LeBron couldn’t resist taking a shot at his new teammate.
“Happy to have Marc – a champion. Won with the Raptors two years ago, who I’ve always loved. Marc has my Defensive Player of the Year trophy at his house, but that’s not here nor there,” LeBron said. “I love you, Marc, I can’t wait to talk about this.”
Back in 2013, LeBron finished second to Gasol in Defensive Player of the Year voting after receiving 18 first-place votes. It’s debatable who exactly deserved the reward but nobody would deny Gasol was excellent that year. LeBron won the NBA MVP and Finals MVP that year so he doesn’t have too much to complain about.
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Gasol Had a Hard Time Leaving Toronto
This will be Gasol’s second chance at playing with the Lakers but it should actually happen this time. However, the decision to leave Toronto for Los Angeles wasn’t easy for the three-time All-Star.
“It was tough,” Gasol said of leaving the Raptors last week, via ESPN. “It was very hard. The first couple days [of free agency] were a little tough for me, but once you kind of decide, ‘OK, what [do] you want to do next? Where? How [do] you want to go about your next challenge?’ I thought the right thing to do was go with Lakers.”
The Raptors brought Gasol his first championship after spending a long time in the league. With Kawhi Leonard leaving the team last offseason, their chances of winning another title in the near future are very slim. Gasol will now jump ship to the Lakers and go title-chasing with the best duo in the league.
Gasol Praises Lakers
When Gasol was originally traded by the Lakers, it helped turn them into a powerhouse that won two of three championships. He could now get his chance to be part of a new powerhouse. He had a lot of praise for the organization.
“Having a chance at being a part of a great team and seeing how the coach [Frank Vogel] and the GM [Rob Pelinka] and everyone felt that I could contribute to that, that to me said a lot,” Gasol said. “A team that just won a championship pitching those ideas to you, and that to me was awesome.”
The Lakers are the premier team in the NBA right now and Gasol should be a big contributor for them. After years of disarray, Los Angeles has figured things out and this offseason is proof that they’ve got the right people in charge.