The 12-year NBA veteran spent the past season-and-a-half with the Raptors, playing a key role on the road to winning a championship in 2019, but Gasol recently signed a two-year deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gasol addressed the media for the first time as a member of his new team on Wednesday and spoke highly of his time in Toronto.
“I’m going to miss Toronto,” Gasol told reporters on a video conference call. “Toronto, it’s been a great place. My family was very settled there. Very comfortable. … That’s just the way, sadly, this business goes but I thought my run in Toronto could not get better.”
The 35-year-old’s production took a slight dip in 2019-20 and his playing time decreased in the post-season, however the Raptors were reportedly still interested in re-signing him.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to be the player that they needed me to be there in order to win (another ring),” Gasol explained. “I thought the right thing to do for me was to join the Lakers and contribute to what they’ve got going on.”
Gasol was originally acquired by the Raptors from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2019 in exchange for C.J. Miles, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and a second-round draft pick in 2024.
Gasol joins LeBron James and Anthony Davis on a franchise fresh off its 17th championship.
In fact, Gasol was originally drafted by the Lakers in 2007 but never suited up for the team before his rights were traded to the Grizzlies in a deal that sent his brother, Pau Gasol, to L.A.
“For me, the most important thing was how I was going to fit on the court and how I was going to be able to help the team,” Gasol added.