Lakers' Marc Gasol Won't Be Bought out After Drummond Signing, Vogel Says

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol, left, is fouled by Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott as he shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Marc Gasol is sticking around. 

The Los Angeles Lakers haven't discussed a buyout with the veteran center, head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Tuesday, despite the team signing Andre Drummond on the buyout market and already having Montrezl Harrell as a backup option. 

"All I can say is that he's loved here ... these guys respect him so much ... he's been a true pro," Vogel said when asked about Gasol's response to Drummond being named the starting center. "We're going to need all three of our centers."

Drummond, Gasol and Harrell all offer the Lakers a different skill set at center. 

The 27-year-old Drummond is easily the best rebounder of the bunch (and one of the best rebounders in the NBA, period) and offers the Lakers more verticality at center than either Gasol or Harrell. While he isn't a terrible defender, he's a surprisingly mediocre rim protector (1.2 BPG) and an inefficient offensive option, albeit one averaging 17.5 points per game this season.

Gasol, 36, is a solid team defender and has range to the three-point line, but he offers little else offensively, and there's plenty of wear and tear on his body at this stage in his career. Harrell is an excellent offensive option and one of the best roll men in the NBA, but he's a huge liability on the defensive end. 

It isn't a huge surprise that the Lakers will immediately hand Drummond a starting job, especially with LeBron James and Anthony Davis out injured. He'll offer the Lakers another solid option on the offensive end, even if he'll be asked to take on a more background role once the team's superstars return. 

"It's been almost a month [and] 10-plus days since I last played. You can imagine the hunger and excitement I have to play and step on the court," Drummond told reporters Tuesday. "I had an incredible month of work where I'm ready to play today."

Buyout Market Faigen @hmfaigen

Andre says that having some former teammates has helped him. "KCP and Markieff have made the transition very easy for me... Being on the same court as them again was an incredible feeling... The chemistry is already there."

He added he believes the Lakers' defense will be "really crazy" when James and Davis returned and indicated he wasn't "here to steal nobody's shine."

Behind Drummond, Harrell will likely see more minutes as the backup option, though Gasol will be a viable option in certain matchups, where a more rugged defender is needed. If nothing else, Drummond's signing gives Vogel more optionality at the position.