NBA free agency is in full swing. Reports abound of team X contacting player Y. One of the most popular phone calls has been to Pau Gasol.
Gasol is a thirteen year veteran who has a career average of over eighteen points, nine rebounds and one block a game. He played for the Memphis Grizzlies for nearly seven seasons before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008.
With the Lakers, Gasol won Championships in 2009 and 2010. Over his career, Gasol has been an NBA all-star four times in 2006, 09, 10 and 11.
The teams interested in Gasol include both NBA finalists, the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, as well as a host of potential contenders. Reportedly, Gasol is looking to earn between $10 and $11 million a year.
But the teams pursuing Gasol do not seem to be in position to offer such lucrative contracts to any new players. I recently broke down the Miami Heat’s salary cap and found the Heat will probably have around $12 million to sign new players. For Miami to fill a competent twelve man roster, $10 million is too steep a price to pay for a 33-year-old veteran.
That's unless Gasol is not as committed to his $10 million price tag as his agent publicly asserts. If Pau drops his asking price to $7 to $8 million he can be added onto many contenders’ rosters. Judging by the variety of teams interested he asking price is in flux.
The San Antonio Spurs have about $9 million left in salary before surpassing the cap. San Antonio has eleven players under contract of the minimum twelve each team must have by the start of the season. But with the age of the Spurs roster, general manager R.C. Buford may want to add some depth to preserve the team’s stars for the playoffs.
However, if the Spurs can convince a few veterans to play for the minimum, they may as well offer their remaining cap space to Gasol. As Gasol will undoubtedly improve any roster.