After falling to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs due to injuries. It was clear the franchise needed to make some changes by bringing in a few veterans this offseason to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis who are the cornerstones of the team. The Los Angeles Lakers brought back a few familiar faces especially Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo who were key assets in securing the championship in the Bubble in Orlando.
The Lakers also picked up DeAndre Jordan after he was bought out by the Detroit Pistons after he was traded from the Brooklyn Nets. Jordan gave up $4 million in his buyout with Detroit and signed a $2.6 million veteran minimum contract with LA.
How will the Minutes be Distributed in the Center Position?
Trading DeAndre Jordan was a possibility for the Brooklyn Nets as they looked to shed some salary while bringing in other veterans on the squad. He also failed to appear in the game in the postseason. Jordan is also returning to Los Angeles, but this time he is playing in the purple and gold after having a long career with the cross-town rival Clippers.
With Jordan now on the roster, the question becomes which center will lose the most amount of playing time with this acquisition. Both DeAndre Jordan and Dwight are good at defending the paint and rebounding the basketball, while Marc Gasol playing style fits in the modern NBA with the ability to stretch the floor.
All three of the centers were all former All-Stars who have their best days behind them but can still contribute to the team. However, many do believe that this move raises doubt for Marc Gasol’s tenure as a member of the Lakers. Gasol’s first season in Los Angeles was a struggle as rumors were circulating of a potential buyout after the Lakers brought in Andre Drummond in the middle of the season.
Gasol also isn’t the defensive player he once was after winning the Defensive Player of the Year award in the 2012-13 season. He also had a major drop-off in playing even with the injuries the Lakers faced last season.
Dwight Howard and DeAndre have a very similar skillset, but it seems like Howard isn’t fazed when asked the question of potentially losing minutes. Howard has also accepted the backup role for a couple of seasons now and has been very effective coming off the bench during his title run in 2020 and a brief one-year stint with the Philadelphia 76ers.
What is in Sore for Marc Gasol
Jordan shared his excitement about playing with Dwight Howard for the upcoming season. The Lakers may save the 15th spot on the roster for an in-season signing when the opportunity presents itself. The Lakers may look to trade the veteran as some other contenders may be interested in pursuing a trade as a few of these teams have a thin frontcourt.
Gasol would not cost much either as a non-guaranteed contract may do the trick as the team can easily waive that player after the deal is completed. Gasol may also have another option in mind that would essentially leave on his terms.
NBA reporter Marc Stein stated, “I’m hearing that Marc Gasol is not a lock to return to the Lakers, even after Gasol said following Spain’s quarterfinal loss to the United States in the Olympics that he intends to play out the final year of the two-year deal he signed with Los Angeles. It’s not yet clear if that means Gasol is poised to be set free to play elsewhere in the NBA or if he would ultimately opt to finish his career in his home country like brother Pau.”
Marc Gasol may be the odd man out as both DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard may have no problem locking down the center position.