4:57pm: The trade is official, according to a Grizzlies press release (Twitter link).
1:38pm: The Grizzlies remain active on the trade market, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Memphis has agreed to acquire Marc Gasol, a 2024 second-round pick, and cash from the Lakers in exchange for the draft rights to 2016 second-rounder Wang Zhelin.
The swap will send Gasol back to the team with whom he earned three All-Star berths and a Defensive Player of the Year award, but the reunion will be short-lived. As Wojnarowski explains, the Grizzlies and Gasol have already agreed that he’ll be waived in order to allow him to remain in Spain with his family.
Gasol told reporters following Spain’s elimination from the Olympics last month that he intended to continue his NBA career and play out the last year of his contract with Los Angeles. However, there had been increasing chatter in recent weeks that suggested the veteran center had played his last game as a Laker. As Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group tweets, the “writing was on the wall” for Gasol following L.A.’s signing of DeAndre Jordan on Thursday.
It’s unclear if Gasol is set to retire as a player or if he simply won’t seek a new team right away after being released by the Grizzlies. Either way, the move will open up a roster spot for the Lakers and save them some money, even after accounting for the cash they send to Memphis in the deal.
Taking into account Gasol’s $2.69MM salary and the accompanying luxury-tax penalty, Wojnarowski estimates that L.A. will recoup about $10MM. The Lakers will have 13 players on guaranteed contracts once the deal is finalized, leaving two spots open on the 15-man roster, though the club may only fill one of them for the start of the regular season.
Los Angeles also gets the rights to Wang, the 57th pick in the 2016 draft. However, it looks like he was just included to make the deal legal — he seems unlikely to sign an NBA contract anytime soon.
As for the Grizzlies, this will be their seventh trade of the summer, including the Juan Hernangomez deal with Boston that’s not yet official. Like many of Memphis’ other trades, this one won’t move the needle much, but allows the team to acquire a minor asset in the form of a 2024 second-rounder. That pick will be the Lakers’ own and is unprotected, per Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian (Twitter link).
Until that Hernangomez deal is done, the Grizzlies have an open spot on their 20-man offseason roster, so they’ll likely look to complete the acquisition of Gasol and then release him before finalizing their deal with Boston, in order to avoid having to cut anyone.
The Grizzlies can acquire Gasol without matching salaries because he was signed using the minimum salary exception last offseason and can be acquired using the same exception. The Lakers will create a small trade exception worth Gasol’s outgoing salary ($2.69MM).