The 12-year NBA veteran spent the last season and a half with the Raptors, playing a key role on the path to a championship victory in 2019, but Gasol recently signed a two-year deal to join the Lakers. from Los Angeles.
Gasol spoke to the media for the first time as a member of his new squad on Wednesday and praised his time in Toronto.
“I’m going to miss Toronto,” Gasol told reporters on a conference call. “Toronto is a great place. My family was very settled there. Very comfortable. … Sadly, that’s how it works, but I thought my run in Toronto couldn’t improve.
The 35-year-old’s production dipped slightly in 2019-20 and his playing time declined in the postseason, but the Raptors are still reportedly interested in signing him again.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to be the player they needed to be there to win (another ring),” Gasol explained. “I thought the right thing for me to do was join the Lakers and contribute to what they did.”
Gasol was originally acquired by the Raptors from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2019 in exchange for CJ Miles, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and a second-round pick in 2024.
Gasol joins LeBron James and Anthony Davis on a franchise fresh out of his 17th championship.
In fact, Gasol was originally drafted by the Lakers in 2007, but was never part of the squad until his rights were traded to the Grizzlies in a deal that sent his brother, Pau Gasol, to Los Angeles.
“For me, the most important thing was to know how I was going to fit in on the pitch and how I was going to be able to help the team,” added Gasol.