Statistically, Pau Gasol hasn’t had his best of seasons. However, despite that, there are still going to be a handful of teams (and then some) lining up to sign the soon-to-be 34-year-old forward once he becomes a free agent this summer.
According to SI’s Chris Mannix, there’s a a few reoccurring teams that come up when Gasol’s future is mentioned: Chicago, Cleveland, Charlotte and Memphis.
Gasol, though, will have options. A poll of NBA executives on Gasol’s future returned many of the same answers: Chicago. Cleveland. Charlotte, if the Bobcats believe a Gasol-Al Jefferson front line can stop anybody. Memphis, if Zach Randolph opts out. Even after a disappointing season — and with the understanding that Gasol has never been a strap-a-team-on-his-back kind of player — Gasol will be among the most sought after free agents on the market.
“There are a couple thoughts out there on Pau,” says an Eastern Conference executive. “Some people say he is worn out, that he is too far past his prime to really help a contender. There are others that think that LA, that environment the past two season, that style of play has destroyed him and if he goes somewhere else, plays with a different coach, he might be rejuvenated. I could see someone who thinks the latter paying him $10 million a year.” …
“I want to be in a team that is going to be built to win a championship,” Gasol said. “That’s my top priority. Money won’t be the main priority. Length and money are factors, but we’ll see. Until I know all the options, I won’t be able to measure them. But we’re getting close to the end of my career. I want to be in a good situation. It’s an important decision to make.”
Of course, all this is assuming that he wants to leave the Los Angeles Lakers. Though, my gut tells me that if the Lakers decide to retain Mike D’Antoni as the head coach for next season, we won’t be seeing Gasol in LA much longer.
It’s pretty obvious that D’Antoni and Gasol don’t mesh well — systematically and on a personal basis. Something has to change and it’s either going to be D’Antoni or Gasol.
Either way, Gasol is going to have his choice of where to go. D’Antoni’s decision, however, isn’t really up to him. But that’s an entirely different situation in itself.
Gasol is averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game this season.