The Toronto Raptors were hampered by a painful lack of depth last season, and watching both Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol leave for the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively, was a huge reason why.
Gasol’s production might have started to decline in LA, the fact that he was barely afforded any opportunity on offense can help explain that. Gasol is struggling with the Lakers, and there is a very real possibility that Rob Pelinka ditches him as he looks to retool.
Even though Gasol has one year left on his contract with the Lakers, the minuscule amount of money he is owed could enable the Lakers to move off of him. Would that mean a Raptors return is in the cards? Unfortunately, there is a chance Gasol ditches the NBA altogether.
Barcelona GM Juan Carlos Navarro claimed that he will “try everything” in order to bring Gasol over to Spain, where he could team up with older brother and potential Hall of Famer Pau in the starting lineup. Re-acquiring Gasol was a tough order for the Raptors before this rumor despite what a beloved figure he was, and it might become even harder if he has any interest in Barca.
Toronto Raptors fans could cross off a Marc Gasol return.
Gasol was a fan favorite in Toronto, and his contributions to the championship squad have been criminally understated. With his rebounding, expert post defense, and quality passing, Gasol was an anchor in the middle of the Raptors’ lineup, Unfortunately, Father Time remains undefeated, and Gasol went from an unathletic big to someone who played lethargically at times in LA.
The only way that Gasol will return to the Raptors is the Lakers choosing to eat his salary for next year and release him, Gasol himself opting for one last go-around in the NBA, and the Raptors deciding to bring him back at the expense of some younger options with a potentially higher ceiling.
If the Lakers decide to move on from Gasol, going back to Spain might be an attractive option. Playing alongside his brother and competing for European trophies might be a nice way to end his pro career after accomplishing so much in the states.
Gasol has his championship, more money than he ever dreamed of, and individual accolades. At this point, the only thing the Lakers, Raptors, and any other team can offer him is paychecks and the possibility of starting despite his declining stats.
Gasol ending his career in Toronto could be a nice cherry on top of his basketball journey, and the Raptors will have a hole at center if they don’t resign Khem Birch, but all of the prerequisite moves that need to happen in order to make this a reality coming to fruition is unlikely. Expect him to wear Forum blue and gold or join the Blaugrana next year.