This free agency period has been a wild ride for the Los Angeles Lakers. They’ve added a superstar in Russell Westbrook and two former superstars in Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony. The roster is essentially set but there are little things that can still happen.
Starting center Marc Gasol recently revealed that he’s not planning on retiring yet and will play with the Lakers next season. However, he almost wasn’t going to be part of the team. Alex Caruso was the most notable name Los Angeles lost but they tried to get something in return, via a sign-and-trade. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on The Lowe Post podcast, the Lakers almost made a move that would’ve sent away Gasol:
Caruso had a couple of deals, and I’m sure you’ve heard some of these too, Zach… He had a couple of deals, somewhere around the mid-level. One was a team that didn’t have to do a sign-and-trade, and that was the Bulls, and that was the one he preferred anyway.
But I heard the Timberwolves were in on this. It would have been a sign-and-trade, and they actually would have taken back Marc Gasol. Like that could have been salary cap relief for the Lakers, not just a trade exception. So we’ll see if they end up needing those exceptions, we’ll see if they end up needing those extra tools to build this roster out, but I think that’s really where we’re going to decide “was the Westbrook trade a success?”
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Are Lakers Looking to Get Rid of Gasol?
This information offered by Shelburne doesn’t bode well for Gasol’s Lakers future. It was obvious that they were disappointed in his production last season when they signed Andre Drummond. However, the team may have warmed to him as Gasol started in a pivotal Game 6 against the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs over Drummond.
As of right now, the Lakers only have two true centers on the roster in Gasol and Dwight Howard. There’s talk of Anthony Davis playing more center this season but that won’t be a full-time move. The team will likely hold onto Gasol for the time being as there aren’t many strong center options still available.
What Will Lakers Do With Final Roster Spots?
The Lakers roster is coming together but they still have three roster spots open. One of those spots is most likely being reserved for veteran forward Jared Dudley. Though he doesn’t play much, he’s become an important leader and presence on the bench. He said during the season that he’d like to play one more year before he transitions to a different role. It’s hard to imagine the Lakers don’t bring him back.
That leaves two more open spots. At this point, any player the team signs aren’t likely to have a spot in the rotation. The Lakers could wait to see how Summer League plays out and possibly sign one or two of the young guys.