Marc Gasol makes his return to the Memphis Grizzlies

A three-time All-Star with the Memphis Grizzlies, Marc Gasol is headed home. The Los Angeles Lakers trade Gasol, a 2024 second-round pick, and cash to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the draft rights to the 57th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Wang Zhelin.

Marc Gasol has put together a career for the ages. An NBA champion with the Toronto Raptors in 2019, Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 as well as a two-time All-NBA selection with Memphis; what more could a player ask for?

Going back to the birth of Gasol’s career, beginning with a trade from, you guessed it, the Los Angeles Lakers to the Memphis Grizzlies, it would seem that this was meant to be.

Signing as a free agent with the Lakers in the 2020 offseason, Gasol went on to make 52 appearances with the team, starting in 42 games of the condensed 2021 NBA season. Posting career lows in minutes, points, and rebounds per game, the culmination of Gasol’s career was all but set in stone.

Signing DeAndre Jordan off of waivers from Detroit, signing Dwight Howard off of a season in Philadelphia, not to mention the presence of Anthony Davis, Gasol’s already diminished role was shrinking that much more.

With this move, the Lakers not only ensure that their frontcourt presence is that much more light on their feet but also shave $10 million dollars from their salary expenses. Though they do acquire the draft rights to Chinese 7-footer Wang Zhelin, Zhelin has yet to see the NBA since his selection in the 2016 Draft, effectively making his acquisition a non-factor.

As for Memphis, the trade for Marc Gasol means little more than a homecoming. Spending 11 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies, Marc Gasol has his roots set in Grind City, but will not remain there for long. Gasol and the Grizzlies are expected to reach an agreement to release the 13-year NBA veteran, allowing him to stay in Spain with his family.

The second-round pick included in the trade from the Lakers, while not an immensely valuable asset on its own, gives Memphis an additional piece to potentially include in future deals in order to surround the likes of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. with more talent.

So, as Marc Gasol makes a return to his storied beginnings in Memphis, the  Lakers shed salary and clear space in the frontcourt for the upcoming NBA Season. Starting the season on October 20th in Memphis vs the Cavaliers, likely without Gasol, the Grizzlies will continue building upon last year’s success and a playoff appearance, their first since 2017.

The Lakers, full of fresh faces, will look to once again contend for an NBA title, opening the season at home against the Golden State Warriors on October 19th.