Marc Gasol was initially believed to have played his last NBA game following rumors of a home comeback with FC Barcelona next year.
Fortunately for NBA fans, people close to the Spanish center have since refuted these claims and he will remain on US soil for the foreseeable future.
The big question, however, is where exactly will Gasol’s next pit stop be? The 6-foot-11 player played the final year of his contract with the Toronto Raptors and is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
While Toronto would love to have the triple All-Star back home, Gasol would likely have more lucrative offers from other contending teams.
Despite his advanced age at 35, Marc Gasol’s skills are still as rare as they come in this league. Few crosses can pass, shoot and defend at such a high rate and impact the win like the Spaniard does.
Marc Gasol has scored career lows in all fields this season, totaling just 7.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists, while shooting 42.7% from field and 38.5 from downtown in 44 regular season games.
Don’t be fooled by these numbers, there is still plenty left in the tank.
In addition to the many individual achievements, Marc Gasol also joined his brother Pau in the ranks of an NBA champion, becoming a vital cog in the Raptors title conquest in 2019.
There are still plenty of NBA teams that would pay a premium to have Gasol’s leadership and championship experience. Here are the top three free agent destinations for Marc Gasol.
The Celtics could have been the ones to emerge from the East this year if they had had a talented center to hold the fort. Daniel Theis has given them valuable production this year, but it looks like he’s better suited as a replacement going forward.
Boston head coach Brad Stevens runs a lot of complex plays on both sides of the ball, and having Marc Gasol around would open up a lot of possibilities for them.
His incredible intuition could create many opportunities for a high position. While Marc Gasol has never been considered a sniper shot blocker, the former Defensive Player of the Year is an excellent positional defender. Additionally, Gasol is another capable widebody who could have helped slow Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo down in this ECF showdown.
While he probably won’t make more All-Star teams in the future, Marc is best suited as a fourth or even fifth option on offense these days. It won’t be a problem in Beantown with their three-headed monster of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker.
Money could be an issue for Cs, but Marc Gasol will likely be open to a pay cut for a shot from a second NBA title.
The Mavs obviously do not lack international flavor with their two best players Luka Donic and Kristaps Porzingis. Adding a European OG like Marc Gasol would certainly spice things up in the Big D and elevate them to contender status next season.
While the 7-foot-3 Porzingis is more than capable of anchoring Dallas’ interior, it would be wise for him to play 4 alongside a proven banger in Marc Gasol. Given the Latvian star’s injury history, the Mavs can mimic the Lakers’ approach by having Anthony Davis play alongside another 7-footer in the starting squad.
Marc Gasol and Porzingis both have the length to be intimidating disruptors on the defensive side. Both can hit the long ball as well, giving Doncic more leeway.
Plus, can you imagine how crazy a Doncic-Marc Gasol tandem would be? Their fantastic vision of the court and their basketball IQ alone guarantee an exciting basketball in Dallas. Gasol’s playing skills also take some of the load off Doncic, who practically carried the Mavs throughout the 2019-20 campaign.
While Marc Gasol would likely have a better chance of winning it all with other more established contenders, Dallas has a bit more to offer in terms of the money. The Mavs have mid and biannual level exceptions next season, which they could use on Gasol.
Warriors of the Golden State
Warriors will pretty much try to persuade all the great men out there because they really need help in this regard.
While the Dubs might prioritize another Raptor free agent to Serge Ibaka, they also can’t go wrong with Marc Gasol as a fallback option.
Golden State is filled to the brim with shooters, and they just need a wide passage to locate these snipers. While Draymond Green already fills that void, there really aren’t too many playmakers in the game today.
Plus, Marc Gasol is an elite screen adjuster, allowing the Raptors to score the most points off screens and cuts this year. Dubs play a similar style. In fact, they actually have more equipped guys like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who can shower all the free looks they get from Gasol.
If the warriors land Marc Gasol, they will no longer be intimidated in the painting – which was the bane of their existence in the 2019-2020 campaign. The center of NBA champions gives them that rightful foothold they always had during their title reign.
Golden State brass, however, may need to clear some space to give Marc Gasol a respectable offer.