Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol is exercising his $25.6M player option for next season, returning to the defending NBA champions, league sources tell ESPN. Gasol could’ve entered free agency.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 26, 2019
Marc Gasol Exercises Player Option to Return to the Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol Opts into Player Option
The Raptors made one of the biggest moves last February, bringing in Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. The veteran center proved to be an excellent addition, making a big impact on their ball movement and three-point accuracy. In the regular season, their assists went from 24.4 to 27.7 per game after acquiring Gasol. Their three-point accuracy was even better, going from 34.5 percent to an elite 41 percent with Gasol. In the playoffs, these same skills were critical to the Raptors winning their first NBA title.
Heading into the summer, it was a question what Gasol would do. While he always had great things to say about Toronto and the Raptors organization, he certainly didn’t owe them anything. After winning a title, Gasol, like teammate Kawhi Leonard, could have said his work was done and hit free agency. Conversely, Gasol did just complete his age 34 season and his age started to show noticeably. Chances are, he wouldn’t have been able to make $25.6 million on the open market. Given that and his newfound love for the city where he won his first title, it makes sense for Gasol to opt in.
Gasol was a key figure in what made Toronto so elite, from defense to passing to shooting. His skill set at the center position gave the Raptors the flexibility to go big or small depending on the matchup. Gasol was also, by all accounts, a great teammate to have in the locker room. With Gasol back now, the Raptors have strengthened their pitch to Leonard to stay for at least another year.
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