Lakers Trade Starter & Pick to Grizzlies for Rights to International Star

marc gasol

Getty Former Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol.

The signing of DeAndre Jordan essentially paved the way for the Los Angeles Lakers to move one from Marc Gasol. The former All-Star was the starting center for the team at the beginning of last season but they quickly soured on his ability. For the second time in his career, Gasol is getting traded from the Lakers to the Memphis Grizzlies.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles is sending Gasol, a 2024 second-round draft pick and cash for the draft rights to Wang Zhelin.

Gasol made three All-Star teams during his 11 seasons in Memphis, including a Defensive Player of the Year title in 2013. Unfortunately, there will not be a farewell tour for the former star big man as it appears he’ll be released and stay home in Spain. Though, it’s unclear if he’s officially retiring.

As Wojnarowski noted, this move will save the Lakers $10 million and opens up a roster spot. They now have money to add a couple of players now or later in the season. Jordan and Dwight Howard were going to be the team’s centers this season so it was just a matter of time before Gasol was shown the door.

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Don’t Expect Zhelin to Join the Lakers Anytime Soon

What will get lost in the shuffle regarding the Gasol news is that the Lakers landed the rights to Wang Zhelin. He has never played in an NBA game but has been a star for years in the Chinese Basketball Association. He’s been a CBA All-Star four times and was named CBA Domestic MVP in 2019 for the Fujian Sturgeons.

Zhelin’s international resume is impressive but it’s hard to see him stepping on an NBA court anytime soon. He’s already 27-years-old and his only experience against NBA competition came in 2018 when China’s men’s national basketball team played in the summer league. He’s a 7-footer who has had a lot of success in the CBA but that doesn’t mean it would translate to the NBA. Also, he doesn’t appear to have much interest in playing in the states. Perhaps the allure of the Lakers pushes him to make an NBA run but that’s unlikely.

Gasol Traded by Lakers for 2nd Time

The most notable thing about Gasol getting traded from the Lakers to the Grizzlies is that it’s the second time it has happened. Back in 2007, Los Angeles drafted him with a second-round pick but traded him to Memphis as part of the deal that got the team his brother Pau. It was a trade that ended up working well for both teams as the older Gasol helped lead the Lakers to two championships while Marc was a star for the Grizzlies.

It all now comes full circle with the Lakers trading Gasol to the Grizzlies again. This time, Los Angeles won’t be getting Pau in return and Marc isn’t going to play for Memphis but it’s a move that should help them out in the long run. Gasol wasn’t going to have a role on the team and he was just eating up salary cap space.

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