Entering the summer as an unrestricted free agent, Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol is making sure he provides himself with plenty options when it comes time to choose which team he’ll continue his career with.
In an interview with http://t.co/K3B8ybZMdR, Pau Gasol mentioned the Lakers, Grizzlies, Bulls, Spurs as options he’ll consider this summer.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 9, 2014
Though injuries decimated his 2013-14 season, Pau Gasol showed flashes that he could still be a key player on a team. Each of the four teams mentioned by the center will have a reasonable amount of cap space this summer, making it able for them to acquire the Spanish center, but it’ll ultimately be up to him to decide where he wants to be for the next two to three years.
With Mike D’Antoni out in Los Angeles, to some, that seems like a guarantee for return, but Gasol says D’Antoni alone isn’t enough to ensure a return to the Lakers next year despite their on-and-off relationship throughout the last two seasons.
“Mike leaving was not the be-all end-all, but it is another factor.” (via the Los Angeles Times)
A return to Memphis can’t be ruled out as Zach Randolph is likely to opt out of his contract this summer, making himself an unrestricted free agent. This move would open the door ajar for a possible Gasol-Gasol connection on the Grizzlies.
“The city of Memphis attracts me because it’s a city I know, there’s an opportunity of playing with my brother and they have a solid team.”
Depending on the asking price of both players, the lower guy would likely get a bigger consideration for a contract, though it’ll be tough to get Memphis fans to buy into the idea of Pau Gasol as a Grizzly again as a fan favorite in Randolph leaves to go elsewhere.
San Antonio seems to be the dark horse out of the mentioned teams. They haven’t been the type of team to make a huge splash in free agency for a big name. But the Spurs will enter free agency with at least $53 million in salary, $43 million if Tim Duncan decides to opt out of his player option.
“The Spurs players maybe don’t rack up statistics, but the team and the coach they have, to me, seems like a very good option. In the end, I’m more interested in a team than an individual player and how I would adjust and be worked into a system.”
There are two ways to look at this: either Pau Gasol can be Tim Duncan’s eventual replacement if the big man chooses to retire after the postseason or he replaces Tiago Splitter in the starting lineup. The latter is seems much more likely than the former, but there are a lot of things that could play out between now and this summer, so it’d be short-sighted to rule out an possibilities at this point in the year.
Like the Spurs, Chicago will have plenty of cap space if they choose to amnesty Carlos Boozer. This seems the least unlikely of the four mentioned teams as Taj Gibson’s breakout would mean that either Gibson or Gasol would be forced to play in a reserve role.
Gasol averaged 17.4 points on 48 percent shooting along with 9.7 rebounds in 60 games with the Lakers last season.