Marc Gasol Exercises $25.6M Player Option on Contract to Stay with Raptors

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

TORONTO, CANADA - APRIL 23: Marc Gasol #33 of the Toronto Raptors warms up before the game against the Orlando Magic during Game Five of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 23, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)
Ron Turenne/Getty Images

Fresh off winning an NBA title, Marc Gasol will return to the Toronto Raptors in 2019-20 after opting into the final year of his contract on Wednesday, the team announced.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

It seemed like a given Gasol would be back with Toronto. The three-time All-Star is set to make $25.595 million next season, per Spotrac.

Even though Gasol remains a productive center, it wasn't likely he would be able to make that kind of money on the open market. The 34-year-old had a successful transition with the Raptors after being acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in February. 

Gasol's new teammates raved about his performance down the stretch and in the playoffs, especially on defense. 

"He doesn't care about anything but winning, and he does whatever," Kyle Lowry told reporters during the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. "Marc hasn't had a big scoring game but maybe once since he's been here, and he's been effective on our team. It's contagious: his unselfishness, his defense, his rotations, his smarts. Everything has been effective on our team."

Another key selling point for Gasol to remain in Toronto is team success. He went from a rebuilding situation with the Grizzlies to arguably the most complete and well-rounded team in the NBA that helped him win his first title after 11 seasons in the league.  

The Raptors have put together a terrific nucleus of talent that has enabled them to win at least 50 games in each of the past four seasons. 

Gasol's window as a prominent force on the court is slowly winding down. He had a successful bounce-back campaign in 2018-19, appearing in 79 games and averaging 13.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists per night with a 36.3 three-point percentage. 

As the Raptors look to continue their run of dominance in the Eastern Conference, Gasol's return ensures they will maintain a strong frontcourt presence. 

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