Pau Gasol is officially an NBA free agent, and he is reportedly considering joining the San Antonio Spurs. If the Spurs are able to lock up the Spanish power forward in a contract, they will be in the title hunt for yet another season. Pau Gasol could be a good fit with what the Spurs want to do next year. The Spurs reportedly want to put together another title run with uncertainty lingering over the other Western Conference contenders.
After two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Gasol is looking for one more chance to win an NBA championship. He has been hoping to do so with the Bulls. Much like anything that the Bulls have done in the past decade, nothing has gone according to plan.
The same can be said for Pau Gasol.
His first season in Chicago ended with a bitter second-round playoff defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. A postseason absence followed, as did locker room discord. Pau Gasol had two strong years with the Bulls, making the all-star team each time, but he wanted a chance at a championship trophy. Never did Gasol come close with the Bulls.
Today was Pau Gasol's deadline to decline his player option for 2016-17. As he said all season, he did. He'll enter free agency.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) June 27, 2016
According to CBS Sports, Pau Gasol is opting out of the final season of his 3-year contract and the news does not come as a shock. He was set to make $7.7 million next season. The salary cap is increasing to over $94 million. Gasol remaining with the Bulls would have him playing well below market value for a player of his caliber. He will be attractive to several teams who are looking for a power forward will his ability to score, pass, and rebound the basketball.
The New York Knicks are one of the teams which will be in the running to sign Gasol, as previously reported by the Inquisitr. The Knicks are just one of a handful of teams who will go after Pau Gasol. New York and San Antonio have perhaps the best odds to land him.
New York is a potentially desirable destination because of Gasol’s relationship with Knicks’ president Phil Jackson. Also, it was a week ago that the Knicks acquired Derrick Rose in a trade with the Bulls. The Knicks will have a considerable amount of cap space to pay Gasol what he wants. Adding him would make the Knicks a dark horse in an Eastern Conference that is not top heavy.
In the west, the Spurs are eyeing Pau Gasol, but they have a meeting with pending free agent Kevin Durant first. After their meeting, it is likely that the Spurs will turn their attention to the former Bulls big.
San Antonio could sign Pau Gasol and be considered as one of the favorites to win the NBA title regardless of what Kevin Durant decides to do. The fit is ideal.
Pau Gasol is perfect for the international culture that the Spurs embraces. The two players whom the Spurs are building around, Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, are American born. They are taking the reins from a few players who are from other countries.
An excellent passer, Gasol would join a team that focuses on sharing the basketball. Motion offense, ball-movement, and taking the best shot is the best description for the Spurs offense. It helps that Gasol is an unselfish player. He will want his touches, most likely along the elbow, but the Spurs would have little difficulty appeasing him. The Spurs also occasionally run a pick and roll in the high post. That would allow Gasol the option to pass to a teammate cutting to the basket, or simply take the shot.
Defense is where things get dicey. Gasol has struggled with his footwork while guarding the post. Sometimes he gets lackadaisical with his help defense. Playing with the Spurs, a team which has a preference for team defense, could mask most of Gasol’s flaws on that end of the floor.
Lastly, Pau Gasol was a Spurs’ target two years ago. The Bulls came in and convinced him to sign with them. He seemed to have two of his best seasons with the Bulls, who needed a third option in their offense. With the Spurs, the demands will not be as great. If Gasol signs with the Spurs, his role will be somewhat similar to Tim Duncan from the last title team.
That would change if the Spurs were to somehow score Kevin Durant. Adding Pau Gasol would just be greedy, yet smart.
NBA free agency does not begin until 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday. The San Antonio Spurs will be entertaining Kevin Durant, then turn their attention to Pau Gasol. Pau Gasol and the Spurs seem to be a really good fit.
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