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Lakers News: Marc Gasol, Pick Traded to Grizzlies for Wang Zhelin's Draft Rights

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 10, 2021

Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers announced Friday that they've traded center Marc Gasol, a second-round pick in the 2024 NBA draft and cash considerations to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday in exchange for the draft rights to 2016 second-round selection Wang Zhelin.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the deal saves the Lakers $10 million, while Gasol will work on a contract buyout with the Grizzlies so he can remain with his family in Spain.

It's a full-circle moment for Gasol, who was selected by Los Angeles in the second round of the 2007 draft before his rights were traded to Memphis. He spent 11 years with the Grizzlies before joining the Toronto Raptors in 2018 and then the Lakers in 2020.

The 36-year-old Barcelona native averaged 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks across 52 appearances for the Lakers last season.

It's unclear whether he'll eventually seek an NBA return or follow a path similar to his brother, Pau Gasol, who rejoined Barcelona in February. The siblings both started their pro careers with the Spanish club.

The younger Gasol was asked about his 41-year-old brother's Barca reunion in April.

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"Seeing him happy is the only thing that it’s important to me," Marc told reporters. "To see him happy and see him smile. I understand that for you it is different, that you see him as a basketball player. To me, he is my brother. The only thing that it’s important to me and I care about is that Pau is happy."

Meanwhile, his departure from the Lakers doesn't come as a major surprise after the team added two other veteran centers, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan, during an offseason roster overhaul. It would have created playing time issues if all three remained on the squad.

Wang, 27, hasn't made the NBA jump since the 2016 draft despite some strong numbers with the Fujian Sturgeons in the Chinese Basketball Association. The 7'0", 270-pound post player has averaged 18.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 36 games during the 2020-21 campaign.

He's a four-time CBA All-Star, but it's unknown whether the Lakers targeted him as a potential rotation player in the future or simply an asset who could complete the deal without bringing in any immediate money to offset the $10 million in savings from moving Gasol.

L.A. and Memphis will face off Oct. 24 in the third game of the 2021-22 season for both teams.

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