Lakers News: Marc Gasol Says He'll Return for 14th Season, Play out Contract with LAL

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol (14) passes the ball during Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns Thursday, Jun 3, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Marc Gasol announced Tuesday he will return to the NBA for the 2021-22 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

The 36-year-old center signed a two-year deal before last season and will finish out his contract during his 14th season in the NBA.

Gasol did announce he will retire from international basketball after his Spain squad lost in the quarterfinals to the United States in the Tokyo Olympics.

"I think it's time for somebody else to enjoy the ride," he told reporters Tuesday. "I think it's time for me to get off the ride and for some young guys to step on and enjoy it."

Gasol appeared in 52 games (42 starts) in 2020-21, averaging a career-low 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds to go along with 1.1 blocks in 19.1 minutes per game.

He did shoot 41 percent from three on 2.3 attempts per game, so he could help with spacing on a team led by LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. It's a shot he's improved throughout his career, as he made 50 threes last season after making only 12 in his first eight seasons combined.

Though Gasol is no longer anywhere near the two-way threat that made him a three-time All-Star and one-time Defensive Player of the Year, he still has his moments from time to time.

Los Angeles will now head into next year with an experienced team after agreeing to deals with veterans Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza and Wayne Ellington.

Gasol and Howard should split time at center while Davis should also play significant minutes at the 5.

The team will hope this is enough to return to title contention after losing in the first round of the playoffs last season.