Former Los Angeles Lakers big man Marc Gasol was not ready to call it quits on his basketball career and has joined Spanish league team Basquet Girona.
The move was officially announced on Thursday and the 36-year-old Gasol will be a player-president for the squad, which he owns and founded. Girona competes in Spain’s second division.
Gasol retired from the Spanish national team in August and his NBA run ended after he was sent to the Grizzlies in a trade with the Lakers and later waived. He’s weighed his next move carefully and was rumored to be “in talks” with Barcelona as well.
“There are talks but there is no negotiation, although he has not given any negative answer,” Barcelona manager Juan Carlos Navarro said. “He knows of our interest and he has the last word. I will not deny that I would like to count on him.”
However, Gasol chose his own squad and will bring additional star power night in an night out. Girona is currently 2-7, having dropped seven in a row after winning their first two.
Gasol, Lakers Had Rough Conclusion to Short Relationship
Last season Gasol averaged just over 19 minutes per game, starting 42 of the 52 games he played in. However, his role on the team got very complicated once Andre Drummond was signed.
The team reportedly made Drummond a promise that he’d start when he signed following a buyout, so Gasol went from the starter to the end of the bench on many nights. That nearly led to him requesting a buyout to pursue success elsewhere. While he said all the right things in the media, the situation reportedly caused a toxic relationship between Gasol and the Lakers, per Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.
“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,” Woike wrote. “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.”
While his brother, Pau, will go down as a Lakers legend, Marc’s stop in LA will only be a blimp on his extensive resume. Gasol won a title with the Raptors in 2019 and was a three-time All-Star. He was also named Defensive Player in the Year in 2013.
Lakers Went More Conventional Route at Center Position
The Lakers liked what Gasol brought to the table with his ability to stretch the floor and pass the ball. However, the team went a new direction this offseason, bringing in traditional bigs DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard to hold down the center spot.
All-Star Anthony Davis is also seeing some time at center in a smaller lineup, although the Lakers have been banged up early on this season, limiting how creative they can be with lineups.
“We’re trying to find out what lineup best fits us,” LeBron James said this week. “Obviously we started to season big with DJ and AD and myself at the three, four, fivs and as of late, we went smaller with AD at the five. So we’re trying to figure out, get enough minutes long enough to where we see what’s the best lineups for us. And how we want to see us play.”
The Lakers are 10-10 so far this season and are looking to build some chemistry with the roster getting closer to healthy.