Gasol spent the last season-and-a-half in Toronto after coming over via midseason trade in 2019. The 35-year-old is coming off his worst professional season from a numbers standpoint. He averaged 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists during the regular season while shooting a career-low 42.7 percent from the floor. Some of that is due to Gasol taking more than half of his shots from beyond the arc, but he's struggled to adjust to a secondary role.
A hamstring injury in December also cost Gasol a month of action. When the NBA returned from its four-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gasol played perhaps the worst basketball of his career. He shot just 18.5 percent from three during the postseason and was benched for Serge Ibaka and other Raptors bigs on a number of occasions.
"It was tough for him," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "He operates a lot better with the ease of his family being around, and the knowledge they are doing fine. He didn't have that comfort, and they were a long way away."
Gasol will likely continue to play a similar role in Los Angeles. His defense isn't what it once was, but he remains effective via a combination of basketball IQ and ageless skill set on the offensive end.
Gasol joins a revamped Lakers frontcourt that now includes Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell, who left the Clippers to move across the hallway on a two-year deal. The Lakers allowed Dwight Howard to walk in free agency and moved on from JaVale McGee, whom ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported they traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With Harrell and Anthony Davis taking up a majority of the big-man minutes, Gasol will likely come off the bench in a secondary role.