2020 Free Agency

Veteran center Marc Gasol signs with Lakers

Former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol is reportedly headed for L.A. to join the Lakers.

Marc Gasol, the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time All-Star, is headed for L.A.

Veteran big man Marc Gasol, who was drafted by the Lakers before his rights were traded to Memphis 12 years ago, has joined L.A. for its title defense. Multiple reports indicate Gasol intends to sign a two-year deal at the $2.7 million veteran exception. He officially signed with Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Though the 35-year-old has seen a sharp drop in overall production — playing just 26.4 minutes per last season, down from 33.0 two seasons prior — he was an integral part of the Raptors’ 2019 championship run following a deadline deal that brought him over from Memphis.

He averaged 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and nearly a block and a steal in 44 regular-season games during Toronto’s own title defense, and is renowned for his post passing and defensive acumen, having averaged as many as 4.6 assists per game and winning the 2012-13 Kia Defensive Player of the Year award.

Gasol proved to be a difference maker during Toronto’s 2019 championship run.

The 11-year veteran will provide a sharp contrast to another reported L.A. addition, reigning Kia NBA Sixth Man Montrezl Harrell. That duo and Anthony Davis are likely rotating up front, with LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma, mixing in minutes at the 4.

As part of the deal, the Lakers are expected to send JaVale McGee and a second-round pick to the Cavaliers for Alfonzo McKinnie and Jordan Bell, who were on non-guaranteed contracts for 2020-21.

The 32-year-old McGee spent the past two seasons with Los Angeles after two with Golden State. The 7-footer averaged 6.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for the NBA champions this past season. He will likely serve as a backup to Cleveland center Andre Drummond, who picked up his $28 million player option last week to stay with the Cavs.