The signing of DeAndre Jordan by the Los Angeles Lakers shouldn’t signal Marc Gasol’s departure

The addition of DeAndre Jordan to the Los Angeles Lakers doesn’t mean the team from … [+] Marc Gasol. (Photo by Harry How / Getty Images) NOTE TO USER: The user expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and / or using this photo, the user is agreeing to be bound by the terms of the Getty Images license agreement.

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The Los Angeles Lakers continue to stock up on talent reminiscent of the most popular All-NBA teams of the 2000s and 2010s.

The Lakers’ latest high profile signing will include DeAndre Jordan once he clears the waivers, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Jordan was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Detroit Pistons in a multi-pick multiplayer deal on Friday.

Once he clears waivers – which he will do under his $ 20 million deal – the Pistons and Jordan will agree to a $ 16 million buyout. Jordan will then sign a $ 2.6 million one-year deal with the Lakers.

The former All-Star and All-NBA selection is clearly not the player it once was – a main reason the Nets traded him with two years left – but he remains a physical, edge-rolling presence.

With the Lakers allowing both JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard to leave after the team won the 2020 NBA Finals – Howard has since returned – the Lakers lacked that physical presence in the 2020-21 season.

At the age of 33, Jordan’s defensive presence is no longer as intimidating as it used to be. His overall rebound percentage of 18.9 was his lowest since the 2012-13 season and his defensive rating of 111.0 was the worst of his 13-year NBA career.

But his ability to block shots – 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes, his highest since the 2016/17 season – and his ability to take second chance and offensive opportunities – the field goal percentage of 76.3 last season is the highest of his career and 127.0 offensive rating is the third best of his career – remains elite.

The addition of Jordan is not an entirely positive addition; the veterans center cannot convert on jump shots. His offensive limitations are well known and his defensive tenacity is no longer as strong as it was at the height of his career.

This is a big reason the Lakers should keep Marc Gasol in the future.

The common consensus was that Jordan would sign with the Lakers, the team will move on from Gasol – who was consistently in the kennel in his debut season in Los Angeles last year.

While Gasol remains slow and prone to inconsistent stretches – he shot 40.3 percent out of the field before the All-Star break last season – he remains a ground spacer. With Howard and Jordan two of the best big men on the list outside of Anthony Davis, it’s a big deal if the Lakers decide to cut Gasol.

Especially when you consider the Lakers will be using Russell Westbrook as point guard, one of the least efficient jump shooting start point guards in the league.

Though the Lakers have never fully stood behind Gasol – they signed Andre Drummond mid-season to replace him in the starting XI – his offensive skills combined with the way he played make him an asset.

Gasol bounced back from its slow start to the 2020-21 season, shooting 45.4 percent off the field for the season and 41.0 percent off the bow. He also averaged 4.0 assists per 36 minutes. Additionally, his offensive rating of 115.0 was the second best on the team among the rotation players and his defensive rating of 105.0 was the third best among the rotation players.

In the team’s second-best line-up last season, Gasol was at the center alongside LeBron James and Davis, according to Cleaning the Glass. They outperformed their opponents by 12.8 points per 100 possessions.

As inconspicuous as Gasol may appear in the visual test, the guy remains a high quality two-way player who clearly influences the other rotation players of the Lakers positively.

Once the Jordan signing becomes official, the Lakers will have 14 guaranteed players under contract. They also have two other players on Exhibit 10 deals. According to the NBA rules, the Lakers are allowed to sign another signature for a maximum of 15 active players in the roster.

That means the Lakers don’t have to leave Gasol.

For a team that struggled with 3-point shooting and clearance last season, switching from Gasol with the addition of Jordan would be a silly and unnecessary move.

Keep Gasol, leave that one squad spot open for a potential high profile addition during the season, and maximize your team’s potential on both offense and defense.

Simply put, this should be a no-brainer for the Lakers.

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