Although it’s frequently been reported that San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard might be headed to the Philadelphia 76ers, the latest rumors suggest that the team is also pursuing his teammate, Pau Gasol, and might have to give up one of their three future first-round picks as part of a package deal for the veteran Spurs big man.
According to a report from GetMoreSports‘ Chris Sheridan, there have been several whispers behind the scenes suggesting that Gasol could be joining a young and talented Sixers lineup that was led last season by 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year winner Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. He said that talks of Pau Gasol joining the Philadelphia 76ers have been “very much in play,” similar to the various rumors hinting at Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the team.
While Sheridan stressed that the new rumors are not a definite sign that Gasol will be traded to the Sixers, and that the Spurs would still like to keep the 38-year-old forward/center, he noted that San Antonio is “examining all options,” which include trading Gasol to Philadelphia in order to acquire the “bushel full of assets” the Sixers are willing to package in trade negotiations. This rumored trade, however, might not be carried out so soon during the offseason, as Sheridan further noted.
Talking about the players the Philadelphia 76ers could trade in order to acquire Pau Gasol, Sheridan wrote that there are “numerous” trade proposals, but none that would allow the San Antonio Spurs to land both 2017 first overall pick Markelle Fultz and an unprotected 2021 first-round draft pick that the Sixers acquired from the Miami Heat in last month’s 2018 NBA Draft. Citing his sources, Sheridan said that the Sixers may instead trade one of their other future first-round picks, as well as a “package of [veteran] players whose names change on a daily basis.” These veterans reportedly include forwards Dario Saric and Robert Covington, though it’s still an “open question” as to whether Saric will be part of any trade talks or not.
Fansided blog Air Alamo, which opined that Pau Gasol could be sent to the Philadelphia 76ers as part of a potential Kawhi Leonard trade, offered a detailed analysis of what could go down if both Spurs standouts are traded to the Sixers. The publication suggested that Philadelphia could include Covington, Saric, Fultz, and backup point guard Jerryd Bayless, and the aforementioned 2021 first-round draft pick acquired from the Heat as part of a trade package for both players.
A six-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection, Gasol, who will be entering his 18th NBA season in 2018-19, will be playing the second year of a three-year, $48 million contract in the coming season. In 2017-18, he posted career-low numbers of 10.1 points in 23.5 minutes per game, eight rebounds, and 3.1 assists, as the starting center on a Spurs team that finished 47-35 and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.