NBA Rumors: Pau Gasol Spurns Larger Payout To Sign With San Antonio Spurs

NBA rumors are pouring in that Pau Gasol, one of the biggest name left in this free agent class, has signed with the San Antonio Spurs, according to multiple media reports.

Yahoo! Sports reported the signing around 3:00 p.m. Eastern Monday, adding that Pau Gasol and the San Antonio Spurs were finalizing a two-year, $30 million contract between the two parties. The contract is a team-friendly one for the San Antonio Spurs that still gives Pau Gasol the opportunity to seek higher compensation next season should he choose to opt-out of the second year.

The situation in San Antonio would be a palatable one for Pau Gasol. With David West opting out of the final year of his contract, Pau Gasol could easily fit into the team’s plans by taking over that role. The addition of the seven-foot tall center would pair nicely with the Spurs big man, LaMarcus Aldridge, giving the team a powerful inside presence.

Tim Duncan, the face of the San Antonio Spurs franchise for much of the past two decades, is also nearing a decision to retire. Should Tim Duncan retire, Pau Gasol could easily fill the void left by the future Hall of Fame center in the low post, adding to the reasons the San Antonio Spurs secured Pau Gasol for 2016-2017. Prior to the signing, the latest rumors came from CBS Sports reporting that three teams had emerged as the favorites to sign Pau Gasol. The Spaniard was said to be looking to make somewhere in the range of $18 million to $22 million over a two-year minimum deal, leaving three teams as the favorites to secure Pau Gasol, according to the report.

“The San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers are all looking for Gasol’s decision to be in their favor. The Minnesota Timberwolves have also pursued Gasol, but they don’t seem to be a finalist for his services. Chris Broussard of ESPN is reporting the Spurs and Raptors are the front-runners for Gasol but the Blazers are still very much in this thing, as well.”

The Toronto Raptors would have provided Pau Gasol with several desirable features, including the team’s market and immediately playing time. A separate CBS Sports report cited multiple reasons why Pau Gasol would choose Toronto should the Raptors clear the necessary cap space to sign him.

“The Raptors would make sense for Gasol. He loves big cities, and he chose the Chicago Bulls a couple of years ago partially because he likes going to the opera. Gasol obviously would not go to a rebuilding team, and Toronto has frontcourt minutes available because of the departure of Bismack Biyombo and the possible departure of Luis Scola. Gasol could either start at power forward next to Jonas Valanciunas, like Scola did during this past regular season, or he could come off the bench and dominate backup centers.”

While not considered one of the top two destinations for Pau Gasol, ESPN reported that the Portland Trailblazers offered the high-scoring center a two-year deal worth $40 million. The team also offers an upgrade to the Chicago Bulls as Evan Turner — who signed a four-year, $70 million offer sheet — and Damian Lillard could provide backcourt help to free up Pau Gasol in the post.

Early rumors suggested that the New York Knicks were interested in signing Pau Gasol to join his former teammate, Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls, in the Big Apple next season. However, Joakim Noah emerged as the winner of that scenario, and Noah signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the team last week.

Three-time NBA Champion and arguably the biggest name remaining in this year’s free agent class, Dwyane Wade, could also join Pau Gasol in finding another team this off-season. Rumors had suggested that Dwyane Wade would sign with the New York Knicks before Courtney Lee helped the team complete a “scary” starting five by signing this weekend. Now, the Denver Nuggets appear to be the team with the inside track to sign the 13-year veteran, according to the Inquisitr.

Pau Gasol had a good year for the Chicago Bulls in 2015-2016. The big man averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.0 blocks per game this past season. His averages over 72 games are on par with his career averages of 18.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest.

Do you think Pau Gasol will sign with the San Antonio Spurs this off-season? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]

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