After serving as one of the key contributors for the San Antonio Spurs in the past two years, Pau Gasol found himself in a lesser role in the 2018-19 NBA season. The 38-year-old Spanish big man has been in and out of the team’s rotation since he returned from an injury as Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich decides to give more playing time to LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poeltl at the center position.
So far, Pau Gasol is only averaging 12.5 minutes per game and posting 4.4 points and 4.7 rebounds on 47.7 percent shooting from the field. It’s easy to understand why Coach Gregg Popovich is prioritizing his young big men over Gasol. At 38, Gasol has already shown several signs of slowing down, and no one can deny the fact that he’s near the end of his NBA career.
However, Pau Gasol strongly believes that he still has lots of gas left in his tank. Before the February NBA trade deadline, ESPN Deportes, vie News 4 San Antonio, revealed that Gasol demanded a trade from the Spurs, hoping that he would be moved to a team that would let him play on the court instead of spending the entire game sitting on the bench. Unfortunately, the Spurs failed to find a trade partner that is willing to absorb Gasol’s lucrative contract.
“The closing of the trade deadline in the NBA left Pau Gasol with the San Antonio Spurs against the will of the player. The Spanish power forward had asked for a change of air from those in charge of the Texas franchise, but the negotiations did not reach any avenue and Pau will end the season where it started, with the Spurs jersey.”
The teams are different. But Spurs forward Pau Gasol experienced two things in 2012-13 Lakers season that made him sympathetic toward the Warriors & Kevin Durant. Pau on dealing with Dwight Howard's free agency + being subject of trade rumors https://t.co/MEkt9p600E— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) February 7, 2019
As of now, Pau Gasol has no choice but to finish the 2018-19 NBA season with the Spurs. A buyout is unlikely to be an option for the Spurs since the veteran center is under contract until the 2019-20 NBA season. However, when the season is over, Gasol and the Spurs are expected to find a deal that will be beneficial for both parties. Trading Gasol next summer will be easier for the Spurs since only $6.7 million of his $16 million salary for the 2019-20 NBA season is guaranteed.
Despite his age, Pau Gasol made it clear that he still has no plans of retiring. Gasol said that he could start thinking about retirement after playing two more years.
“In two summers, I might think about it a little more,” Gasol said, via 247 Sports. “It might be an option then, maybe. And maybe not because I love what I do.