Following a summer of big moves, the Los Angeles Lakers are a better team than they were months ago.
With LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and a whole host of other solid players, the Purple and Gold are poised to run the West this upcoming season.
Still, the departure of veteran big man and floor spacer Marc Gasol (who left this summer) is an unfortunate blow to the organization, especially since his skillet would have been especially useful for their new roster.
Gasol, who is set to get released from the Grizzlies, will soon continue his career in Spain. And while the details behind his relationship with the Lakers are a bit murky, Bill Oram of The Athletic did shed some light on what went wrong:
I don't know. Maybe, just maybe, this is a lesson that you shouldn't always chase the shiny new thing. Marc Gasol is a floor-spacing big the Lakers could use in lineups with Russell Westbrook. As a team source said during the recent standoff with Gasol, "He could really help us."
This can only be looked at as a consequence of the Andre Drummond signing. Promising him Gasol's starting job and essentially demoting Gasol to third string created a rift that could not be resolved, despite Marc saying all the right things publicly in the immediate aftermath and this summer in Tokyo. So, not only did signing Drummond make the Lakers worse on the court last season, it also poisoned the relationship with a player who could have been useful for the team they've built this season.
The Lakers were 24-11 with Gasol as the starter before Drummond's arrival. Not saying he was perfect last year, or that he would have had the same impact this season, but it's not ideal to have to use a draft pick to shed the salary of a guy you signed last season especially when that guy pencils out as a logical fit on your current team.
Gasol got sidelined in favor of Andre Drummond, who they acquired late into the season. The belief, at the time, was that Dre would be a perfect fit within the rotation as a big body under the rim.
Unfortunately, he was never quite able to find his footing with the Lakers, and the team missed the floor spacing that Gasol provided on a nightly basis.
Sometimes, it's just better to stick with who you have...