Marc Gasol Reveals How Hard it was to Leave the Toronto Raptors and Move on with the Lakers

Marc Gasol has come full circle, as he is all set to unite with the same Lakers who drafted him back in 2007. After drafting Marc on 2007, the Lakers later traded the center to the Memphis Grizzlies for elder brother Pau Gasol.

The Lakers have now once again hooked him, this time with a 2-year $5.3 million deal. This appeared to be a good move for the Lakers who recently lost Dwight Howard. However, this move was not easy for the 35-year-old former Raptor. The decision was not impulsive; in fact, he had to work his calculations out to finally come to deciding terms. 

Marc Gasol leaving the Toronto Raptors was not as swift as it sounded

Recently, the three-time NBA All-star gave an interview where he described his deepest feelings. He revealed, “It was very hard. The first couple days [of free agency] were a little tough for me, but once you kind of decide, ‘OK, what [do] you want to do next? Where? How [do] you want to go about your next challenge?’ I thought the right thing to do was go with Lakers.”

There were more than a couple of reasons for Marc to consider leaving. He knew that after the departure of Serge Ibaka, the onus would be on him to step up and become a key player in the starting five, a role for which he was probably not ready. He also knew that they would have to shift to Tampa, Florida for the new season. That would been a major transition for his family. He must have also calculated which move could bring him closer to an NBA title.

Marc added, “Toronto has been a great place, my family was very settled there, very comfortable, they really enjoyed their time. …I thought my run in Toronto could not get better and we’d always be chasing the ring, that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to be the player, that they needed me to be there in order to win it. So I thought that the right thing to do for me was to join the Lakers and contribute to what they got going on.”

The Lakers welcomed Marc with open arms

The 2013 DPOY had to wait for 11+ years to finally lift an NBA title. It was all thanks to his teammates in Toronto that he could close the 2018-19 season with a ring, even after playing just 26 regular-season games because of an injury. Marc remembered this when he expressed, “I told my teammates that have remained there – Kyle [Lowry], Freddy [VanVleet], Pascal [Siakam], Norm [Powell] and the rest of the guys and even Coach [Nick Nurse] – how much they meant to me.” 

Lakers forward Anthony Davis holds the Finals trophy. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Marc is also approaching the end of his career, and it must have overwhelmed him to receive an offer from the defending champions. He proudly detailed, “Having a chance at being a part of a great team and seeing how the coach [Frank Vogel] and the GM [Rob Pelinka] and everyone felt that I could contribute to that, that to me said a lot. A team that just won a championship pitching those ideas to you and that to me was awesome.”

Marc Gasol is not the same (2017-18) player who’d start every game and drop 17+ points with 8+ rebounds. So the Lakers will have to use him as a rotation to help Anthony Davis and Montrezl Harrell on the floor. 

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Sourabh Singh

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I intend to make popularise my quote when I say sports define me better than I define sports. See ya’all Champs!