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Lakers Rumors: L.A. Pursuing Centers amid Marc Gasol's Uncertain Future with Team

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 31, 2021

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 1:  Marc Gasol #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on against the Phoenix Suns during Round 1, Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 1, 2021 at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have their eyes open on the frontcourt market just in case Marc Gasol ends up elsewhere this offseason. 

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Lakers are pursuing other centers despite Gasol having one year left on his two-year contract. Stein reported a breakup between Los Angeles and the veteran big man could be on the horizon on Aug. 20:

"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."

Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis are the only other centers on the Lakers' depth chart as the calendar flips to September. 

In 52 games with L.A. last season, Gasol averaged 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 45.4 percent from the floor in 19 minutes per night. 

It's unclear if the Lakers would look to free agency to find a replacement for Gasol or try to swing another trade. As far as unrestricted free agents go, the market has significantly thinned at this stage of the offseason.

Aron Baynes, Luke Kornet, Bismack Biyombo, Ed Davis and Harry Giles make up the top unsigned names. DeMarcus Cousins, Jordan Bell and Tacko Fall are also available, but provide much less consistency and durability. A reunion with Cousins seems particularly unlikely after a failed stint in 2019-20 ended with the veteran tearing his ACL over the offseason. He never played a game with the Lakers, though the club did engrave his name on their 2020 championship rings. 

Keeping Gasol may still be the best option available, but as Stein noted, Los Angeles is wise to prepare contingency plans if that's no longer feasible. 

  

   

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