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Lakers’ Marc Gasol on losing starting job to Andre Drummond: ‘It’s a hard pill to swallow’

Lakers center Marc Gasol

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 20: Marc Gasol #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers is introduced ahead of the game against the Miami Heat at Staples Center on February 20, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. 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. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

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Marc Gasol joined the Lakers’ amid fanfare as a nice value signing at center.

Then, Andre Drummond joined the Lakers’ amid fanfare as a nice value signing at center.

Drummond, who signed with the Lakers after a Cavaliers buyout, supplanted Gasol in the starting lineup (at least when Drummond isn’t injured). Gasol declined interview requests for several days as speculation swirled about his future in Los Angeles.

Following the Lakers’ win over the Kings last night, Gasol addressed his situation.

Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times:

Asked if he thought he would remain with the Lakers for the rest of the season, Gasol said he was committed but left the door open for that to change.

“Things can change quickly in the NBA just as they have changed for me. But, I’m committed to this team,” Gasol said. “It’s a hard pill to swallow because I know I’m going to be out of the lineup at some point. It’s never easy on a player. As a basketball player, you want to play. You want to contribute, especially when you made that commitment for that reason.

“But, we’ll see.”

What’s the operative part of that quote, “I’m committed to this team” or “We’ll see”?

Gasol hasn’t been one to passively accept being marginalized. If he’s upset, that could escalate into bigger chemistry issues. The Lakers must manage this.

But Gasol has underwhelmed this season. His can disappear offensively (which isn’t so bad when deferring to LeBron James and Anthony Davis). Gasol remains a solid defender. But at 36, he has significant athletic limitations. His high basketball intelligence helps, though goes only so far.

The Lakers have plenty of center depth – Davis, Drummond, Montrezl Harrell and Markieff Morris. Gasol can help in some matchups. But is that enough to keep him happy?

It could be if he’s committed to the Lakers and content to chase a ring from the bench when necessary. If he wants a more prominent role, both he and the team face some tough questions.