And Ones: Gasol, Nuggets, Drummond, Hawks

The BullsPau Gasol could miss out on a major payday if he doesn’t opt out of his current deal next summer, according to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Gasol has a player option on the final season of a three-year, $22.3MM contract that brought him to Chicago in 2014. He is owed a little less than $7.77MM for 2016/17, when increased TV revenues are expected to greatly raise the salary cap. Two unidentified executives from rival teams told Johnson that even at age 36, Gasol could land two more years of guaranteed money if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. “I’ll wait to make that decision,” Gasol said. “All I’m focused on now is trying to play the best I can so that if I do opt out and explore, I have options. If I have the best season possible and work on my body and stay healthy and help this team accomplish its goals, I’ll go from there.”

There’s more from around the world of basketball:

  • The league has taken steps to reduce the unique home-court advantage the Nuggets possess because of Denver’s location and altitude, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Denver is at least a two-hour flight from nearly all NBA cities, which gives the home team a decided advantage against an opponent playing back-to-back games, especially when the thin mountain air is factored in. “I didn’t like it when I had to come here,” said Michael Malone, who is in his first season as Nuggets coach. “But I love it now.” Dempsey reports that the NBA has tried to cut into that edge by making Denver the first stop for teams traveling from the east and building an off day into the schedule for teams coming from the west.
  • The PistonsAndre Drummond tops a list of six players exceeding expectations compiled by Jonathan Concool of Basketball Insiders. Drummond was averaging 20.3 points and 20.3 rebounds per game heading into Saturday’s action. Rounding out the list are the BlazersC.J. McCollum, the Pistons’ Marcus Morris, the Bucks‘ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Magic’s Evan Fournier and the LakersJordan Clarkson.
  • The Hawks will recall Edy Tavares and Lamar Patterson from the D-League Sunday, tweets Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Both are expected to be in Atlanta in time for the game with the Jazz.

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