Lakers Big Man Marc Gasol Confirms He’s Returning Next Season

Getty Images Marc Gasol (right) will return to the Lakers next season.

Veteran big man Marc Gasol intends to return to the Los Angeles Lakers next season with hopes that his second year in purple and gold goes smoother than his first.

Gasol has one year left on the contract he signed last offseason and will make around $2.7 million. He announced his intentions to return to the Lakers following Spain being bounced from the Olympics at the hands of Kevin Durant and the United States. It will be Gasol’s 13th NBA season.

The 36-year-old also said his time with the Spain national team was over and his brother, Pau, did the same at the age of 41. The Gasol brothers combined for 16 minutes against Team USA, but did not score.

After a busy first day of free agency, the Lakers have eight players under contract in LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Gasol, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore and Dwight Howard.

Gasol Called Drummond Signing ‘Tough Pill to Swallow’

Gasol averaged just over 19 minutes per game with the Lakers last season, 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 most nights. That nearly led to him requesting a buyout to pursue success elsewhere.

“Things can change quickly in the NBA, just as they have changed for me,” Gasol said when questioned about seeking a buyout in April. “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.”

Through the back half of the season, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was adamant that all three of his centers — Gasol, Drummond and Montrezl Harrell — would be essential to the team’s success. It was hard to find minutes for all three but Vogel gave Gasol praise as one of the team’s most important players.

“I think people need to understand how good of a player Marc Gasol is and how valuable he is to what we’re doing,” Vogel said. “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.”

Lakers Bring Back Dwight Howard

Getty ImagesLeBron James and Dwight Howard hug after winning the 2020 NBA Championship.

Harrell is now in Washington as part of the trade that brought Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles. Drummond is a free agent but appears to be getting about as much attention as his NFT sale did earlier this summer.

In one of their first moves of free agency, the Lakers brought back Dwight Howard, who won a title with the team in 2020. Howard averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds last season with Philadelphia. He provided nearly 20 minutes per game, 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds with the Lakers in the year prior during their title run.

He and Gasol would be an interesting pairing, with Howard playing the more traditional center role and Gasol being capable of spacing the floor. That being said, Howard was seen working on his 3-ball this summer, so maybe he’s planning on adding a new element to his game.

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