Pau Gasol is taking an unorthodox step to try and extend his NBA career

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Football News

Pau Gasol can see the waiting on the wall.

The San Antonio Spurs big man is in his 16th season in the league and probably wants to keep collecting those NBA checks.

And who could blame him? If he picks up his player option for next season, according to Basketball Reference, he'll get past the $200-million mark in career earnings.

It's not bad work if you can find it. And Gasol is apparently trying to find more of it.

The Spanish legend should be headed to the Hall of Fame after a crafty career of clever post moves, effective passing from the high post and excellent mid-range jump shooting.

In the twilight of his career, Gasol is trying to add long-range shooting to his repertoire.

The Spurs are notorious for limiting minutes, especially for veterans, and Gasol has averaged a career low of court time, averaging 25.6 minutes of court time, the first time he's ever been under 30. He also missed time 15 games with a broken finger.

The Spaniard is averaging 12.2 points - his career low by 1.5 points - and 7.8 rebounds per game, also among the lowest of his career.

But a deep dive into the numbers show another area where Gasol's statistics are showing growth.

The 7-footer is stepping out behind the 3-point line for coach Gregg Popovich and knocking down shots at a really nice clip.

Despite the limited minutes and the injury, Gasol has attempted more 3-point shots (75) than he ever has. He's also making them, with 39 makes coming out to the best percentage of his career (.520).

That's an astounding percentage, given the NBA's leader for qualifying 3-point shooters is Otto Porter of the Washington Wizards, who shoots them at a .449 clip (Gasol's 39 makes leave him about halfway toward becoming a "qualifying" leader).

It's a great addition to the game for Gasol, known league-wide as one of the smartest players in the NBA.

It also could be a nice weapon for the Spurs in the playoffs. Many have again written off the franchise's ability to go to another level in the postseason this year, despite a proven track record come playoff time.

Gasol is reportedly making $15.5 million this season and holds a player option with San Antonio for just over $16 million next season.

At 36, he probably sees the possibility of one more pay day after next season and needs to do all he can to ensure it happens.

Extending his shooting range is a perfect way to extend his career a little.

As long as he keeps knocking them down.

San Antonio Spurs
Southwest Division
Western Conference
Chicago Bulls
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Kawhi Leonard
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Pau Gasol
Kobe Bryant
Tony Parker

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