Veteran big man Pau Gasol is one of the newest members of the Spurs, and it sounds as if the union between the two sides was a long time coming. Speaking recently at an event in Madrid, Gasol admitted that he turned down an offer from San Antonio in the summer of 2014, opting to sign a two-year contract with the Bulls instead.
“Two years ago I declined the option of going to the Spurs,” Gasol said, according to a Eurohoops translation of a Marca.com report. “Now it was the right time to go to San Antonio. … [Gregg] Popovich has told me that I will contribute a lot, and along with LaMarcus Aldridge, without Tim Duncan any more, I will be one of the leaders of the team in the front line.”
While Gasol viewed Chicago’s offer as the best deal for him at the time, and played well during his time with the Bulls, the team didn’t enjoy the sort of success he anticipated, missing the postseason this past year for the first time since the 2007/08 season. This time around in free agency, he made the Spurs a priority, reaching a deal with the team during the July moratorium.
With Gasol under contract in the NBA for at least two more years, the odds of him heading back overseas to finish his playing career in Spain are becoming more remote. Although the possibility of a return has long been the subject of much speculation in his home country, the 36-year-old essentially dismissed it, per Eurohoops. “It’s a nice idea, but becoming less and less possible,” Gasol said.