With Pau Gasol on the market this summer, a few NBA organizations have expressed interest in signing the Spaniard. Two such teams are the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat, who played in the 2014 NBA Finals.
Gasol is interested in signing a deal that would pay him between $10 million and $12 million a year. Gasol might be worth the price seeing as he can still produce at an efficient level. Last year, while most of the Lakers’ players watched from the sidelines with injuries, Gasol was one bright spot in Los Angeles starting 60 games. He averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Gasol was also one of the cornerstones of the Lakers’ two championships in 2009 and 2010.
The Spurs’ interest in Gasol comes at a time when Boris Diaw’s future with the team is uncertain. Diaw proved to be an important asset to the Spurs, and San Antonio intends to re-sign the Frenchman. However, if Diaw leaves San Antonio, the Spurs hope to land Gasol.
With the Spurs, it is uncertain whether Gasol would be a part of the starting lineup or come off the bench to replace Tiago Splitter. Regardless, Gasol’s excellent passing skills fit right in with the Spurs’ pass-heavy offensive system. Plus, if any coach can get the most out of an aging Gasol, it is probably Gregg Popovich.
Before the Heat give Gasol the salary he wants, a few things must happen. First, the rumors stating Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will take pay cuts must come true. Sources say Bosh would accept $11 million in the first year of a five-year contract. Likewise, Wade would begin a new four-year contract, making $12 million during the first year. This gives the Heat the cap space to sign LeBron James to a maximum contract around $20.7 million and still have approximately $12 million left.
This would help solidify the frontcourt for the Heat who relied on Bosh along with Chris Anderson and Udonis Haslem last season. Haslem opted out of his contract after the championship, potentially showing his willingness to also accept less money and remain with a championship contender.
Gasol would anchor the Heat defense. However, with a lot of mileage already, Miami would not want to tire Gasol with the bumps and bruises that come with protecting the rim. Yet, Gasol’s presence on offense would be important as Miami does not have many players who can post up and score effectively.
Gasol’s main goal this off-season is to sign with an immediate contender. Without direction and the potential loss of James, Miami may not win over Gasol. On the other hand, San Antonio is close to being locked and loaded for another run at the Finals. Adding Gasol would be the finishing touch. Either way, it can be assumed that whoever Gasol chooses has a great chance to win a championship.