Pau Gasol has plenty of potential suitors. The most-mentioned teams – Lakers, Knicks and Mavericks – just aren’t going anywhere quickly.
Maybe – maybe – Dallas could win a playoff series next year. After all, the Mavericks will still have Dirk Nowitzki. But reaching the second round is unlikely, and the Lakers and Knicks face much steeper climbs.
So, Gasol – who played in the 2008, 2009 and 2010 NBA Finals – must at least listen when the two participants in the 2014 NBA Finals call.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Free-agent center Pau Gasol had a telephone conversation with Miami Heat president Pat Riley on Tuesday and could talk again with the franchise in the near future, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
So far, Gasol is still pushing for a $10 million-$12 million annual salary, league sources said.
The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs have inquired with Gasol’s agent Arn Tellem, expressing an interest, sources said
The Heat could use Gasol’s size, allowing Chris Bosh to play more power forward and LeBron James more small forward. But that would really alter Miami’s small-ball identity. Then again, at some point, it’s worth adding talent when you can and crafting an identity around what’s in place.
If Bosh and Dwyane Wade are willing to take as small of contracts as reported, the Heat could give Gasol his desired salary. I’m not totally convinced Bosh and Wade would go that low, but it’s at least out there.
The skilled Gasol would be an excellent fit for the Spurs, but they can offer only a three-year, $23,650,910 contract based on my projections. To do that, they would have to renounce Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Patty Mills and Aron Baynes. In that scenario, San Antonio could still re-sign those players, but it would have just the room exception ($2,732,000) and minimum-salary deals to offer.
I get that Gasol wants more money, but I doubt he gets $10 million per year. Maybe the Lakers offer it. Maybe The Mavericks do. The Knicks certainly can’t, and I doubt the Heat can either.
Once Gasol explores his options, he might find San Antonio and Miami tempting destinations with decent-enough salary offers.