In the first major piece of free agency news for the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors, the team has announced that Marc Gasol will exercise his player option for the 2019-20 season, returning to Toronto for the final year of his current deal.
Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol is exercising his $25.6M player option for next season, returning to the defending NBA champions, league sources tell ESPN. Gasol could’ve entered free agency.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 26, 2019
The last year of his deal is worth $25.6 million, so it’s not surprising at all that Gasol would opt in. At 34 years old, the native of Spain is probably due for one more contract in his NBA career, one that probably won’t be as lucrative as $25 million per year.
The Raptors have also offered some stability and winning for Gasol, who might’ve been the most punch drunk (literally) happy player after Game 6 of the Finals. (Also, he and Norm Powell can compete for bragging rights for who was most drunk at the parade.)
The other interesting side of this is that Gasol didn’t wait for Kawhi Leonard and the beginning of free agency on June 30 to make his decision. Whether it’s motivated by money or by stability, Gasol made his own move to return to the Raptors. That’s the kind of thing that winning a title gives you.
A mid-season acquisition by the Raptors, Gasol averaged 9.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 26 regular season appearances. In the playoffs, he bumped that up to 9.4 points, along with 6.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists, in 24 games.
Gasol will join a host of Raptors players whose contract finishes at the end of 2019-20, including Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Fred VanVleet.