The report emerged despite Gasol claiming he was ready to return to the LA Lakers to play out the final year of his contract. He was owed $2.6 million in the upcoming season. As per NBA rumors, the Lakers did want to continue to keep the Spanish center on their roster.
However, Marc Gasol did not show any intent to return to the side for next season. The NBA rumors regarding this matter were first reported by Southern California News Group's Kyle Goon.
Marc Gasol had an underwhelming campaign with the LA Lakers last season. He averaged just five points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the team.
NBA Rumors: Will Marc Gasol's absence hurt the LA Lakers?
At 36 years of age, Marc Gasol has been on a decline for the last two seasons. That was more evident during his stint with the LA Lakers, especially on the defensive end. Gasol wasn't able to match the other bigs in the league in terms of speed and athleticism. With Anthony Davis sidelined for almost 50% of the games, the Lakers struggled to protect the rim.
Gasol's inefficiency in that regard saw the LA Lakers sign Andre Drummond mid-season. That led to Gasol being out of the rotation for a long stretch of the campaign. With the Drummond experiment not working either, the Lakers decided to sign Dwight Howard this offseason.
This gave the LA Lakers the cushion to keep Marc Gasol for another season. A major reason behind that was the Spaniard's ability to space the floor. He has been one of the best three-point shooting centers in the league for the last few seasons.
With the LA Lakers acquiring an average long-range shooter like Russell Westbrook, it was important for them to have Gasol on the team, especially to make their offense work. It would have also allowed Davis to play as a power forward.
So floor spacing is one area where the LA Lakers could miss the services of Marc Gasol. But if Anthony Davis remains healthy for most of the season and is motivated to play at the five, this issue shouldn't bother the Lakers that much.