Earlier this month, Marc Gasol was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Memphis Grizzlies, and now his NBA career appears to have come to an end. The Grizzlies will reportedly waive Gasol, clearing the way for him to return to his native Spain. There, he’s expected to play for Girona, according to longtime NBA insider Marc Stein.
There were initial thoughts that Gasol might reunite with his brother, Pau, at Barcelona, but he has instead opted for Basquet Girona — a club he owns and which is also based in Catalonia. Before coming over to the NBA, Gasol played for Girona (a different club that has since been disbanded due to financial troubles) from 2006-08, and was named the 2008 MVP of Spain’s ACB.
A three-time All-Star and NBA champion returning home was going to be a big deal no matter which team he decided to play for, but Gasol choosing Girona could have major implications on the Spanish basketball landscape. Girona are currently playing in the second division, and adding Gasol will be a big boost as they seek promotion to the ACB for the first time since Gasol helped found the club back in 2014.
In 52 games with the Lakers last season, Gasol averaged five points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.1 minutes. He lost his starting spot to Andre Drummond, however, and saw less action in the playoffs. With the additions of Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan this offseason, it was unlikely that Gasol was going to be a major part of the rotation.
But in the Spanish second division, where his declining athleticism will not be anywhere near as much of an issue, Gasol should still be a productive player. He’s a strong outside shooter and brilliant playmaker for a big man, and is still a solid defender in and around the paint.