Gasol exercises option, returning to Raptors

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Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol has picked up the player option on his contract and will return to the team, the Raptors announced Wednesday.

Gasol's option is reportedly worth more than $25.5 million. He will enter free agency next summer.

After spending the first 10 years of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies, Gasol was traded to the Raptors in February. It worked out well for Gasol, who became a starter on a championship team.

Gasol, 34, posted career-lows in most categories during the regular season, at 9.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. But his defense and experience proved to fit well next to the Raptors' main core of Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry.

With Gasol’s salary for next season now locked in, the Raptors are already over the projected $109MM cap, and haven’t yet accounted for potential new deals for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green," Luke Adams of HoopsRumors explained. "If Leonard returns, he’d receive a maximum-salary contract ($32.7MM), while Green seems unlikely to take a pay cut on last year’s $10MM salary. In other words, if Toronto wants to bring back its entire core, the team will be way over the projected $132MM tax line."