Center Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls has declined his player option worth $7.77 million to join other NBA stars in this summer’s free agency market and rumors are swirling he might consider an offer from the San Antonio Spurs.
The 35-year old Gasol noted that one of the considerations he made in declining to comeback with the Bulls was his health issues. Gasol has battled injuries to the point that he could not bend his knees anymore. He added that when the Bulls line-up was not so healthy, he had to play major minutes to deliver a chance to the franchise for a postseason spot.
“Couldn’t bend my knee to a certain degree. Then it pinched,” Gasol said. “That was a big part of it. Now the pounding of play with the fluid and the games and the schedule and the minutes, I don’t know. A little bit of everything I guess.”
ESPN sources say Pau Gasol, as expected, officially notified the Bulls today that he's declining his 2016-17 option and going to free agency
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 27, 2016
However, despite battling through injuries and long playing minutes, Gasol and Bulls never made it to the postseason. Frustrations ran high and the thought of opting out his final year with the Bulls has finally come.
But despite their dismal run towards the end of the regular season, Gasol maintained his efficiency on both ends of the floor. Gasol is finishing his tour of duty with the Bulls on a high note averaging 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
Now, Gasol is chasing one more run in his NBA career and rumors are swelling that he could best possibly get it with the San Antonio Spurs.
The most likely scenario would be if Tim Duncan decides to retire before the next season starts, the Spurs will have a void in the center spot. With Gasol’s length and passing, he could very well fit in the system of Gregg Popovich and can very well play the Spurs’ pick-and-roll plays down the shaded area.
Pau Gasol has opted out of his contract with the Bulls and will become a free agent!
— NBA Updates Ⓜ️ (@MySportsRumor) June 27, 2016
Gasol stated that he is a fan of Duncan and with the typical play of the Spurs, he would surely fit in. Many might see him not so competitive during his prime years, but Gasol has managed to redesign his talents and skills.
The Spanish center has been a solid contributor for the Bulls this season and could very well take the place of Duncan, though no official word has been out yet of his retirement.
“There’s talk about passing of the torch with San Antonio and a hypothetical passing of the torch with Duncan. For starters, nobody knows if Tim is retiring and he’s somebody whom I have maximum respect for. In closing, I have to admit the Spurs would be an interesting option for me. I recognize I’m a fan of the way the franchise has done things over the years and the way they play basketball on the court,” Gasol added.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Pau Gasol sign with the Spurs. His name has been linked there for the past few seasons.
— Matthew Cardenas (@CardenasMaLWOS) June 27, 2016
@Bboyhannibal Mike Conley, Nic Batum, & Pau Gasol were a couple of good people Spurs b looking at. I just hope we make good trades.
— Jericho @ Dallas (@RJCBlaze) June 27, 2016
If the Spurs would decide to pass on him, Gasol may have other suitors when the free agency season officially starts on July 1. But for now, Gasol stays focus on the free agency and playing for Spain in the upcoming Rio Olympics in August that will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Photo Courtesy: Jim Larrison/Wikimedia