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Report: Marc Gasol never got over Lakers demoting him for Andre Drummond

Marc Gasol and Andre Drummond with Lakers

May 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel, assistant coaches Phil Handy and Lionel Hodges,guard Alex Caruso (4), center Marc Gasol (14) and center Andre Drummond (2) watch from the bench in the second half against the LA Clippers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When the Lakers signed Andre Drummond to supplant Marc Gasol as starting center last season, Gasol called it a “hard pill to swallow.”

A few days later, Gasol restated his full commitment to the Lakers. As recently as last month, Gasol said he’d return to the Lakers next season.

But apparently he never got over getting demoted for Drummond.

Seemingly choosing not to return to Los Angeles, Gasol got traded to the Grizzlies, who’ll release him so he can finish his career in Spain.

Bill Oram of The Athletic:

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.