Former Lakers Big Man Linked to Western Conference Rival

Getty Images Marc Gasol and LeBron James defend Golden State star Steph Curry.

The Los Angeles Lakers parted ways with Marc Gasol this offseason, but the big man could still play a role for a contender this year if he decides to come back to the NBA for another year.

Gasol was inconsistent at times last year with the Lakers but his basketball IQ and ability to spread the floor come at a premium. Even at 36 years old, Gasol can still be a contributor for a contender, as he was at the start of the season for the Lakers.

Golden State is one team that has been linked to Gasol, with Steph Curry’s squad being named a “team to watch” when it comes to the big Spaniard’s future.

“Marc Gasol is a name to watch,” Anthony Slater of The Athletic wrote. “He just wiggled his way away from the Lakers and, according to an ESPN report, plans to remain in Spain while sorting out the next (and perhaps last) phase of his playing career.

“Gasol nearly signed with the Warriors last summer — and might have done so had [Klay] Thompson not ruptured his Achilles before free agency. It may never materialize, but he has the exact passing acumen and center skill set that has traditionally fit [Steve] Kerr’s offense best, similar to David West and Andrew Bogut.”

The Lakers signed Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan this offseason, going for a more traditional approach at the center position. Gasol was shipped to Memphis for the draft rights to center Wang Zhelin and later waived by the Grizzlies.

Gasol has not made a decision on his future and whether he’d try to play overseas or in the NBA.

Lakers, Gasol Had Toxic 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.”

Former Big Man Devontae Cacok Signs With Nets

The Lakers completely retooled the roster this offseason and another former LA big man will have a new home in Devontae Cacok, who signed a two-way deal with the Nets this week.

Cacok has played sparingly for the Lakers and averaged just 2.0 points a game. He showed his upside in the G-League as a rookie, averaging 19.4 points, 11.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.4 blocks. And at just 25, Cacok could be a bench piece with upside for the Nets.

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