Report: Mavericks to pursue Pau Gasol in free agency

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After playing six and a half seasons and winning two championships with the Lakers, it appears to be almost certain that Pau Gasol will be departing Los Angeles in free agency this summer.

The Lakers could choose to try to retain Gasol depending on his contract demands, considering they only have three players signed to guaranteed contracts for next season. But he’s been made into a scapegoat of sorts over the last couple of years, and despite a close relationship with Kobe Bryant, has been mentioned in trade rumors on a fairly consistent basis.

Gasol likely wants a fresh start, especially when looking at the dismal state that L.A. currently finds itself in. He’ll have options, and Dallas will be one team that has the cap space and a need at his position.

From Tim MacMahon and Marc Stein of ESPN Dallas:

The Dallas Mavericks plan to be among the teams pursuing Los Angeles Lakers center/power forward Pau Gasol once free agency begins July 1, according to sources close to the situation.

The Mavs’ level of interest in the 7-foot Gasol, sources told ESPNDallas.com, is largely dependent on his price tag. The four-time All-Star, who turns 34 next month, is expected to take a major pay cut after making $19.3 million last season.

Gasol could well represent the Mavs’ best opportunity to upgrade at the center position via free agency. They also have significant interest in Washington’sMarcin Gortat, who they recruited as a restricted free agent in 2009, signing him to an offer sheet that was surprisingly matched by the Orlando Magic.

Gasol was once considered to be one of the league’s most skilled big men, someone who could score inside and out and could pass out of double teams as well as anyone at his position.

The key to Gasol returning to his old self all comes down to fit in his new team’s offense. If he’s utilized properly, it’s likely that someone will get a steal in signing him to a free agent deal, and it wouldn’t at all be a surprise to see him to return to playing at an All-Star level in a new situation.