Besides sending franchise cornerstone DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio, one of Toronto’s biggest moves of the season was the trade for Marc Gasol. It involved swapping 27-year-old Jonas Valanciunas for 34-year-old Marc Gasol.
At the time, folks did not understand. Some still don’t.
But while the Raptors made that trade for more than one singular reason, they had the Warriors in mind when making the deal.
As noted by The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, the Raptors saw Gasol as a perfect weapon against DeMarcus Cousins and the Warriors.
“The Raptors won both regular-season games against the Warriors this season. While Cousins didn’t play in either game, part of the reason that the Raptors acquired Marc Gasol at the trade deadline was in hopes of a potential Finals matchup with Cousins, a source told The Undefeated.”
By his standards, Gasol was having a down season in Memphis in the months leading up to the trade. True, he was on a team poised for the lottery and true, his skills were not made a priority for the franchise. But he had enough left to be valuable for a contending team.
The Raptors essentially saw Marc Gasol as a piece they could use to bolster their playoff chances. As they embark on their mission to win Game 2 of the NBA Finals, it is safe to say they made the right call in that regard.