Report: Marc Gasol never got over Lakers demoting him for Andre Drummond
When the Lakers signed Andre Drummond to supplant Marc Gasol as starting center last season, Gasol called it a “hard pill to swallow.”
But apparently he never got over getting demoted for Drummond.
Bill Oram of The Athletic:
I don't know. Maybe, just maybe, this is a lesson that you shouldn't always chase the shiny new thing. Marc Gasol is a floor-spacing big the Lakers could use in lineups with Russell Westbrook. As a team source said during the recent standoff with Gasol, "He could really help us."— Bill Oram (@billoram) September 10, 2021
This can only be looked at as a consequence of the Andre Drummond signing. Promising him Gasol's starting job and essentially demoting Gasol to third string created a rift that could not be resolved, despite Marc saying all the right things publicly in the immediate aftermath...— Bill Oram (@billoram) September 10, 2021
... and this summer in Tokyo. So, not only did signing Drummond make the Lakers worse on the court last season, it also poisoned the relationship with a player who could have been useful for the team they've built this season.— Bill Oram (@billoram) September 10, 2021
The Lakers were right to chase roster upgrades last season. That didn’t turn out to be Drummond, but with his size and talent, there was a chance he could help. Merely signing him was not a bad idea.
Handling Drummond’s entrance onto the team was the bigger issue.
Gasol has shown he cares about his standing in the game. The Lakers should have been more careful to manage his ego. Especially considering he usually made good things happen when on the court prior to (and after) Drummond’s arrival.
As Oram’s source said, Gasol would have still helped this team, even at age 36. Gasol’s shooting and passing stand in stark contrast to Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan, both of whom play a rim-running style. Plus, Gasol is a smart defender and has the size to hold up at center – sparing Anthony Davis from the responsibility.
The Lakers could still be fine. They have LeBron James and Davis, after all. But sometimes these marginal problems make the difference.