The Spaniard struggled during the 2020 playoffs and didn't believe it was in the Raptors' best interest to move forward with him.
"We were always chasing the next ring but I wasn't sure I was going to be able to be the player that they needed me to be in order to win it," Gasol said Wednesday, according to TSN's Josh Lewenberg. "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 an important part of Toronto's 2019 championship run. His playmaking brought a new element to the Raptors' offense, and the veteran's interior defense against the likes of Joel Embiid and Nikola Vucevic also fueled the club throughout the playoffs.
The 2013 Defensive Player of the Year says he cherishes his time in Toronto and will always have a special connection to the organization.
"I told my teammates that remain there - Kyle (Lowry), Freddy (VanVleet), Pascal (Siakam), Norm (Powell), and the rest of the guys, even coach (Nick Nurse) - how much they meant to me, how much they helped me," Gasol said. "I'm gonna miss them a lot. I can't lie to you."
He added, "We went through something together that's very unique, very special, and creates a bond forever. And no one can take that away from us."