Marc Gasol made it abundantly clear that he’s unhappy with his role after the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Andre Drummond, and the Miami Heat, per league rules, must add at least one player to their team by April 8. Could this be fate?
If the Lakers agree to a buyout with Gasol, his landing in Miami may be the perfect move for both the frustrated center who wants more minutes and the Heat, who are in desperate need of a big man.
Gasol already lost his starting job with the Lakers and will have to settle as the backup center for Montrezl Harrell on most nights. As for the Heat, they don’t have a true backup for All-Star Bam Adebayo after trading away Meyers Leonard and Kelly Olynyk to acquire Victor Oladipo from the Houston Rockets, and if Gasol came to Miami, he could be a key part of the rotation.
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The 36-year-old Spanish star said of being relegated to the backup’s backup, “I think there’s an ‘if’ — ‘if’ they need you. And it’s a big ‘if’. You’re not Plan A right now. You’re Plan C, D. You have to accept it because that’s your job. And that’s what you sign up to do. It’s never easy to accept that.”
“Things can change quickly in the NBA, just as they have changed for me,” Gasol continued. “But, I’m committed to this team. It’s a hard pill to swallow because I know I’m going to be out of the lineup at some point. It’s never easy on a player. As a basketball player, you want to play. You want to contribute, especially when you made that commitment for that reason. But, we’ll see.”
When Gasol said to the media, “We’ll see,” it appeared to be his way of telling the Lakers he either wants more minutes or the opportunity to land with another team.
Will the Lakers Agree to a Buyout With Gasol?
For Gasol, it’s not up to him whether or not he stays in Los Angeles, it’s up to the Lakers front office. From what Lakers’ head coach Frank Vogel has said of Gasol, it doesn’t appear they want to let him go. Vogel said:
I think people need to understand how good of a player Marc Gasol is and how valuable he is to what we’re doing. And we’re going to play our most important players, so he’s going to help us win a championship this year. That’s the plan. That’s the vision. Obviously, Andre coming along gives us the depth. But we’re going to need all three of those guys. We stated that from Day 1, and Marc is one of our most important players. He dominated the game tonight with five points, OK? And this is what Marc brings to the table.
The approach is full support. It’s difficult to see that your role is going to change: How can we support you? And make sure that they understand that they are a vital piece — like Marc is a vital piece to us winning the championship this year. And there’s no other way to look at it other than that.
Thus far this season, Gasol is averaging 1.2 blocks a game and has a better 3-point percentage (34.7%) than any of the other Lakers big men.