Gasol even apparently requested a trade, according to ESPN Deportes. San Antonio didn’t move him before last week’s trade deadline, though.
Gasol, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:
“What’s the source? What’s the validity of that story? I don’t know. I didn’t request to be traded. I don’t want to comment on it because it is what it is. I think people understand or can figure out my situation on the team is not what was expected from me, and my only wish and desire is to be able to contribute to the team, and be able to be on the floor and do what I’m supposed to do, and do what I signed here to do, and kind of live up to what I’m paid for. That’s all. I’m waiting and hoping that that will happen. I’m staying positive. But don’t believe everything that is out there. Kind of interesting how that was put out there. But people go with it because it makes sense. Let’s point the finger at Pau. Maybe we should point the finger somewhere else, and ask other questions and ask other people. When you’re here in the spotlight, and you get asked questions and put in that position, it comes with the territory. I’m staying positive. I love this game, love what I do, and work hard to be able to do what I do. And I want to continue to do it. I know I might not be in my prime, but I feel I still can contribute at a very high level, and be an important and positive impact for my team, and make my team better. There’s a lot of rumors, a lot of stories. It didn’t come from me, right? So ask whoever that source or that outlet that found that information. Go ask them. I just think that’s fair. Ask management, right? Players are put in these positions, and I feel like I just want to do what I’m supposed to do, what I can do and what I’m paid to do.”
In limited minutes, Gasol has looked reasonably effective. But the number of matchups the 38-year-old can handle is shrinking. Playing fine in selected opportunities won’t necessarily translate to a bigger role.
Maybe the Spurs can use Gasol’s length to protect the rim against a certain playoff opponent. That tactic worked surprisingly well in San Antonio’s second-round upset of the Rockets in 2017. But far more teams are capable of exploiting his immobility.
Just $6.7 million of Gasol’s $16 million salary for next season is guaranteed. That’d still be a bitter pill for the Spurs to swallow for not having Gasol, but it seems increasingly likely they’ll waive him this summer.