Three Centers the Lakers Can Target if Marc Gasol Leaves This Off-Season

Published 08/21/2021, 9:07 AM EDT
Dec 13, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol (14) moves the ball against Los Angeles Clippers forward Nicolas Batum (33) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


After a rather disappointing 2020-21 season, the Lakers have made a flurry of changes this off season. Trading away many of their key starters and rotational pieces, the Lakers have brought in add some big-name stars and experienced veterans to the lineup.

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While the big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook looks set, the Lakers still have a total of 3 roster spots remaining. This number might well increase to 4. The Lakers’ who only added Dwight Howard to their center position. With Howard alongside Marc Gasol who is still under contract, the Purple and Gold’s front court looked set.

Dec 28, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr. (55) attempts to dunk the ball over Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol (14) and forward LeBron James (23) in the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

But according to latest reports, Marc Gasol, might be on his way out of the Lakers’ side. According to Marc Stein, the Spaniard unlike earlier reports might not return to LA and might follow brother Pau Gasol’s footsteps and play in Spain.

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This will open yet another roster spot for the Lakers, and will weaken the front court. We take a look at three possible replacements the Lakers can still sign from the free agency.

Add a versatile forward in JaKarr Sampson

The Lakers are coached by Frank Vogel who is regarded as one of the best defensive coaches in the league right now. While the Lakers’ clamped down on opposition last season, this season they have lost some versatile defenders in their lineup.

One of the perfect signings to add defense to this Lakers team in JaKarr Sampson. While the 6’7″ forward isn’t outstanding offensively, the 28-year-old brings on the intensity in the defensive end.

Standing at 6’7″, Sampson is a versatile forward and thanks to massive 7’0″ vertical, can play in multiple roles. While he has played majority of his career as a forward, last season due to Pacers’ injury woes, the 28-year-old flourished in the center position as well.

Sampson can certainly bring some much needed defensive versatility, and act as a small ball center for the team. Given the number of roster spots available, a signing like Sampson is a no brainer,

Bring back a familiar name in DeMarcus Cousins

In a season where the Lakers were missing shooting, Gasol chipped in with a couple of three pointers in his limited time on the court. The Spaniard certainly worked as an able stretch big and was essential in Anthony Davis operating in the paint area.

If Gasol leaves, the Lakers might need someone who is a like replacement. DeMarcus Cousins is certainly one of the names the Lakers could consider. A 6’10” center, Cousins is a big presence in the paint and also is a decent shooter.

The veteran center also has experience is sharing the court with Lakers’ big man Anthony Davis and can certainly provide some valuable minutes for the Purple and Gold. But one of the biggest issues Cousins has had over the years is him getting in foul trouble. Can the 5-time All-Star limit the same if he signs with a defensively stout team like the Lakers?

Add a much younger name to the Lakers’ roster in Harry Giles

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The Lakers have one of the most veteran heavy teams in the league right now. One of the oldest in the lineup in Marc Gasol. The Spaniard who was drafted back in 2007 is already 36 years old and probably one of the slowest players in the league right now.

If the Spaniard does not return, one of the alternatives the Lakers could look forward to former Blazers’ center Harry Giles. Giles who was drafted 2017 has had a decent career so far and has the necessary size to flourish in the league.

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The 6’11” center is an able big man and can still flourish under the right coach. Vogel certainly can be the answer for the center. Given his skill-set, the Lakers’ could bring a younger player in peak shape as an able replacement.

The center market is pretty limited right now but if the Lakers want to add some front court depth, they won’t have much better options than the three players mentioned above. Who do you think LeBron James and Co. should sign?

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Aditya Mohapatra

1164 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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