The Spurs made another move that won’t move San Antonio’s needle much in the Western Conference this summer, re-signing Pau Gasol to a three-year contract, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Gasol opted out of a $16.2 million player option for the 2017-18 season in a decision that seemed likely to result in the Spurs making a big free-agent splash. That splash never came, as San Antonio lost wing Jonathon Simmons in free agency, only to replace him with oft-injured 30-year-old Rudy Gay.
The Spurs brought back 40-year-old Manu Ginobili for another year, and only a few days later will sign the 37-year-old Gasol to a three-year deal, with a partial guarantee for the third season, before which he too will turn 40. All of which means the Spurs will run back a similar roster to the one that reached the Western Conference finals, only to be swept when superstar Kawhi Leonard suffered an injury.
Or will they?
Sources: In the Kyrie Irving meeting with Cavs, one of primary teams raised as a preferred trade destination for him: The San Antonio Spurs.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 21, 2017
The Spurs were reported to be one of four teams on Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving’s preferred destinations following the bombshell news of his trade demands. After a quiet summer on the free agency market, it seemed inevitable that San Antonio would do something, if only because the Spurs were falling back in the West power rankings, and they always manage to move the needle.
The Gasol signing doesn’t do that, though. He just submitted the least productive season of his 16-year NBA career, which has included a pair of titles and six All-Star appearances. Gasol averaged 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.1 blocks in 25.4 minutes over 64 games in San Antonio last year.
Even if Gasol accepted less than half of his previous salary, the Spurs now won’t have max cap space next summer unless LaMarcus Aldridge opts out of his $22.4 million option for 2018-19. Aldridge has been a subject of trade rumors, including a shakily sourced report in June about a potential deal with the Cavaliers. It sure has been a wild NBA summer, except in San Antonio. So far, at least.
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