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Centre switcharoo: Gasol goes to Lakers, Baynes comes to Toronto

Marc Gasol as agreed to become a Laker, but the Raptors quickly moved to replace him with Aron Baynes

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Well, at least that one didn’t come after midnight.

Marc Gasol is the latest Toronto Raptor to leave The North for the City of Angels. Only this time, it’s not the Clippers doing the poaching, it’s the Los Angeles Lakers:

The deal looks to be for two years although financial terms were still being finalized as of this writing.

The Raptors quickly pivoted to Plan C at centre: moments later, news dropped that Aron Baynes had agreed to come to Toronto (er, Tampa):

The number on its own seems reasonable enough, although the second year was a bit of a shock at first. However, reports soon came out that year two of the deal is a team option, which makes sense as it preserves Toronto’s flexibility for 2021.

Gasol came to the Raptors at the trade deadline in 2019 and was a huge part of their championship run, and became a fan favourite thanks to his defensive smarts, his pinpoint passing on offense, and his sheer drunkenness during the championship parade.

Unfortunately, he was injured for most of 2019-20, pre-bubble; although he was healthy in Orlando, his play had noticeably declined.

We’ll have more on the Baynes signing to come soon. Stay tuned for more news!