The early days of NBA free agency were financially kind to the big men – even those that are debatable adapt to modern offenses.
Few quality inside appearances remain on the open market after the Clippers signed former Raptors striker Serge Ibaka on Saturday night to replace Montrezl Harrell, linked with the Lakers. Marc Gasol is perhaps the best ever available, even at the age of 35, and he could now have his choice of contenders to play for the sudden shortage in his position.
The Warriors and Raptors are among the top options for Gasol, according to ESPN. Golden State would like to have the Spaniard as a mentor for No.2 general manager James Wiseman, while Toronto (who have employed Gasol for the past two years) only needs experienced coaches in place after Ibaka’s departure.
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The Warriors have already made a significant move since Wednesday’s project, acquiring striker Kelly Oubre from the Thunder to insert in their line after learning Klay Thompson’s end-of-season injury. The addition of Gasol will give them a more robust depth than they are accustomed to having. Gasol, Eric Paschall, Brad Wanamaker and Damion Lee will form a respectable cast of bench options for coach Steve Kerr.
The Raptors have re-signed guard Fred VanVleet to a four-year deal to ensure Kyle Lowry’s aging process doesn’t disappoint his future backcourt game. But for the team to remain an Eastern Conference force in the upcoming NBA season, it may need to deal with its court as well. Ibaka is already gone, Chris Boucher is a restricted free agent and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is an unrestricted free agent. Returning to Gasol, since the team is apparently eager to do so, would have supported that end of the list.