By all intents and purposes, it seems extremely likely that Pau Gasol’s time as a Laker will be coming to an end at some point soon. While Gasol could still be moved at any moment, the Lakers are unlikely to bring back Gasol after his contract runs out at the end of the season.
Gasol is an immensely talented big man whose presence immediately turned the Lakers into title contenders. He was a key factor in helping the Lakers win two championships and his performance in Game 7 against the Celtics will go down as one of the best NBA Finals Game 7 performances in NBA history.
Conversely, his level of play has dropped off significantly over the last three years and he has rarely resembled the dominant player he was in his early Laker years — much to the frustration of the Lakers faithful. With all that being said, we asked our panel of experts: What will Pau Gasol’s legacy be once he is no longer with the team?
This is what they had to say:
Ramneet Singh (@Ramneet24): Pau Gasol changed the Lakers overnight when he joined the team in 2008.
At the time, the Lakers were a mediocre squad just trying to make the postseason. However, once Gasol was traded to Los Angeles, he turned the franchise around and instantly made them a title contender. Gasol and the Lakers then made three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and hoisted the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2009 and 2010.
Although Gasol’s last few seasons have been less than stellar, he will go down as one of the best big men this franchise has ever seen. The Spaniard’s number will one day end up in the rafters and his impact — both on and off the court — will never be forgotten.
The Lakers now have 16 championship banners hanging in Staples Center and it would definitely only have been 14 if it weren’t for Gasol. As the second best player in the title run, the Lakers relied on Gasol to produce and he brought his best on a nightly basis.
Sadly, there is a chance that his tenure with the Lakers will come to an end this season, but his legacy will not be tarnished. Gasol was a fan-favorite and all of his teammates raved about his play and the influence he had on the franchise.
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): Pau’s legacy will be not only that of a champion, but one of a person who truly made an impact in the community. Pau made children’s hospitals his second home, and cared about the people in the city of Los Angeles.
Of course, Pau will also be remembered for being the player who helped Kobe Bryant win two rings without Shaq. He’ll be remembered for being one of the smartest and highly-skilled players in the league.
Above all, I think he’ll be remembered for being professional throughout his stay in Los Angeles, and for being the ultimate teammate.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): With two NBA titles to his credit and the reputation for being a legitimate good guy, Pau Gasol will go down as one of the greatest Lakers of all-time. Although that may sound like a bit of a stretch to some die-hard fans, Gasol will eventually get his jersey retired at the Staples Center alongside longtime teammate Kobe Bryant.
Gasol put up All-Star numbers while in Los Angeles and will be remembered in a positive light regardless of how he may leave the team. Although Gasol was not traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for former Laker Andrew Bynum, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another deal in the works shortly after. The writing is on the wall in Los Angeles that the team wants to move the veteran and will likely do so in a trade or by simply letting him walk in free agency this summer.
So despite the fact that the Lakers are actively shopping Gasol and don’t seem to have a desire to retain him in the off-season, the Spaniard will be remembered for being part of a dynamic duo that helped win two more titles for the iconic franchise.
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