The Gasol paths in the NBA they do not stop crossing. Both began their careers in the Memphis Grizzlies, where they are already true legends of one of the youngest franchises in the league. The transfer that ended Pau at the Lakers had Marc a key player. And, years later, both starred in a historic leap in the All-Star to symbolize the first confrontation between two brothers in the match that brings together the best players in the world. Now, with the signing of Marc by the Los Angeles Lakers, where Pau triumphed, the circle is closed in what could be the last adventure of the Gasol middleweight in search of his second ring … the same ones that his brother has.
After several hectic days in the NBA transfer market, and after closing Serge Ibaka his pass to the Los Angeles Clippers, the most solid alternative for his stellar neighbor, the Lakers, was Marc Gasol, the most coveted piece of those left on the market. The departure of Dwight Howard for Philadelphia made the reigning champions need a replacement and Marc was the chosen one. That of Sant Boi, who had received siren songs from the Warriors (champion in 2015, 17 and 18) and from his last team, the Raptors (with whom he took the ring in 2019), opted for the always attractive idea of playing in Hollywood in the most awarded franchise in history.
Interestingly, Marc had already been an Angelino, albeit virtually. The Lakers had their rights for several years, when the pivot played in the ACB, and in January 2008 they decided transfer them to the Grizzlies … to sign his brother Pau. The play was perfect for the Californians, as Pau’s brother was Kobe Bryant’s luxury squire to reach three NBA Finals and win two: in 2009 against the Magic and in 2010 against the Celtics.
Marc also benefited from the operation. He came to Memphis in the summer of 2008, a team under construction, and soon became a major player. The best years of the Tennessee franchise were with the Gasol middleweight as center, and he also grew, being chosen the best five in the league in 2014, best defender in 2013 and several times All-Star, including that mythical one in 2016 with the jump to history between the two Spanish brothers.
But the years are unforgiving 35 is already on the way to 36, and between that Marc and the current one there are many differences that are well reflected in their statistics. Last season, his first complete at the Raptors, was his worst since he’s in the NBA in scoring (7.5 points), shots attempted (only 6.3), rebounds (6.3) and minutes (26.4). His diminishing returns were more than evident since he came to the Canadian franchise in January 2019, but that did not prevent him from being a key player in Toronto’s title just a few months after their arrival.
Marc signs for LeBron James’ team and comparisons with when Pau did it for Kobe Bryant’s are inevitable, but one case has nothing to do with the other. The oldest of the Gasols arrived in Los Angeles in January 2008 to become the second sword of those Lakers, the squire that Kobe needed so much. And he succeeded, being decisive in the rings of 2009 and 2010. Although that was Bryant’s team, no one doubts that, without Pau, those titles would not have been achieved.
LeBron, however, is not because he is not looking for a squire, it is that he already has at his side a player who, today, equals him in terms of performance. James was chosen the MVP of the past Finals, but Anthony Davis’ performance was as good as The King. They form a duo that is respected and admired without either of them being above the other. So, The goal of the Lakers was not to get a star, but accessories. And in that role a Marc who continues to be one of the best passers in the league in his position and whose defense in the paint is elite fits perfectly. That of Sant Boi completes, with the signings of Montrezl Harrell (best sixth man in the NBA last year) and Dennis Schroder (who takes the place of Rajon Rondo, a dream squad that make the Lakers the great favorites for revalidate the ring. Marc wants, like his brother Pau, a yellow ring.