NBA Rumors: LA Lakers Could Trade Marc Gasol To Hornets For Future Second-Round Pick

Marc Gasol explaining his side to the referee
Gettyimages | Tim Nwachukwu
Basketball

The Los Angeles Lakers signed veteran center Marc Gasol, whom they originally drafted in 2007, in the summer of 2020 with the hope that he could help defend their title in the 2020-21 NBA season. Unfortunately, Gasol was unable to impress in his first year as a member of the Purple and Gold. Aside from the noticeable decrease in his mobility, the Spanish big man was clearly having a hard time making himself fit with the Lakers' system.

Though he still has one year left on his contract, Marc Stein of New York Times revealed in his substack newsletter that Gasol is no longer a lock to return to the Lakers next season.

Marc Gasol To Charlotte Hornets

Marc Gasol going for a lay up
Gettyimages | John McCoy

With Gasol only owed $2.6 million in the 2021-22 NBA season, the Lakers could easily buy out his contract and give his roster spot to another player. However, instead of letting him walk away without getting anything in return, it would be wise for the Lakers to first explore the trade market for Gasol.

In a recent article, Greg Patuto of NBA Analysis Network came up with a hypothetical trade idea that would allow the Lakers to dump Gasol to the Charlotte Hornets. In the proposed trade scenario, the Lakers would be sending Gasol to the Hornets in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick.

Hornets Add Veteran Presence In Their Frontcourt

Marc Gasol going up against Karl-Anthony Towns
Gettyimages | Hannah Foslien

Despite his age and deteriorating performance, Gasol would still be an interesting addition to a young, aspiring contender like the Hornets. Aside from giving them another option at the starting center spot, Gasol could also serve as a great mentor to Kai Jones, whom they selected as the No. 19 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

"Charlotte could use a veteran name in the frontcourt to provide depth and experience," Patuto wrote. "There’s a lot of excitement about the addition of Kai Jones from the 2021 NBA Draft and having a veteran presence to help mentor him could help."

Lakers Save Money While Opening Up Roster Spot

Marc Gasol protecting the ball from Serge Ibaka
Gettyimages | Harry How

The proposed trade would also be beneficial for the Lakers, especially if they no longer need Gasol's service for the 2021-22 NBA season.

"The market is not high on Gasol but it is all about getting something back while opening up a roster spot," Patuto wrote. "Clearing guaranteed salary and opening up a roster spot is what the end-result would be for the Lakers."

The departure of Gasol would open up more playing time for Dwight Howard. With Gasol gone, Howard would become Coach Frank Vogel's No. 1 option as Davis' frontcourt partner or his primary backup.

Will Marc Gasol Consider Playing For The Hornets?

Before the Lakers and the Hornets could execute the trade, Charlotte would first need to get an assurance from Gasol that he intends to play for them in the 2021-22 NBA season. In an interview with Esport 3 last year, Gasol said that he has no interest in playing for a rebuilding team.

At this point in his NBA career, the 36-year-old big man would prefer to play for a legitimate title contender than waste a season mentoring young players on a rebuilding team.