Pau Gasol

Southwest Notes: Mavericks, Spurs, Morey, Gasol

Despite perhaps winning the 2018 NBA Draft with the selection of some pundits’ top-ranked player, Luka Doncic, Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram doesn’t see the Mavericks making the playoffs next season, writing that Dallas will likely end up picking in the NBA Draft Lottery for a second straight summer in 2019.

The projected lineup of Dennis Smith Jr., the aforementioned rookie Doncic, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki and a center-to-be-named-later, while an improvement, is not enough to crack the top eight of Western Conference, in Engel’s opinion, even if that new center is potential free agent DeAndre Jordan or free-agent-to-be DeMarcus Cousins.

Despite the hype surrounding Doncic and his experience playing with professionals overseas, he will still be an NBA rookie next season, and as Mavericks’ president Donnie Nelson puts it, that means “he’s going to get his rear end handed to him.” Add in the fact that Smith Jr. is also still only 20 years old, and you’re left with one of the youngest – albeit most talented – backcourts in the NBA, which is probably not enough in the deep Western Conference.

There’s more from the Southwest Division.

  • With Danny Green choosing to opt in for the 2018/19 season, the Spurs are situated to be near the projected salary cap line of $101MM at the beginning of free agency, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN. Marks adds that in addition to renouncing free agents Tony Parker and Rudy Gay, the Spurs would also likely need to unload some heftier contracts like those belonging to Green and Pau Gasol in order to create cap room this summer.
  • Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey said the team wasn’t really close to making a deal to move up in last week’s NBA Draft, but that there was an opportunity to move into the No. 20 to No. 25 range.
  • Pau Gasol is doubtful that the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard can mend their relationship, telling EpDeportes, via Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone, “I do not know if the situation can be rectified after Kawhi’s request to leave, I do not know if a multi-million dollar offer would fix it, he has not talked to him for a long time, he’s a very reserved player.”

Spurs Notes: Leonard, Ginobili, Parker, Gasol

A meeting with Kawhi Leonard will be the Spurs’ top priority of the offseason, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN. Head coach Gregg Popovich is expected to lead the session as the team tries to determine whether it can work through a dispute with its top player and forge a long-term relationship.

An MVP candidate last year, Leonard was limited to nine games this season by a lingering quad injury. He was cleared to return by team doctors, but not by his personal physicians in New York, where he made two extended visits during the season. Rumors persisted of disharmony between Leonard and the organization, and they intensified when he opted not to join the team for its playoff series.

“Kawhi, everybody asks questions, but he’s still here,” Danny Green said after last night’s season-ending loss at Golden State. “He’s still locked in. He’s a part of the team until things change.”

This summer’s meeting will go a long way for the Spurs in deciding whether to offer Leonard a supermax extension valued at about $219MM over five years. Complicating matters, Wright notes, are divorce proceedings between Peter Holt, the team’s former chairman and CEO, and Juliana Hawn Holt, the current chairman and co-CEO, which could affect any major financial decisions for the organization.

Wright offers more news about possible changes coming in San Antonio:

  • Manu Ginobili is signed for $2.5MM next season, but isn’t sure if he’ll return. Ginobili, who will turn 41 in July, plans to make the decision sometime this summer. “As I’ve done it the last two or three seasons, I’ll sit back, relax and, after two or three months, see if I feel retired or not,” he said. “I like to let it season a little bit, to see how I feel. Don’t expect news until July, probably. I just don’t know. I let a month, two months go by and see how I feel. I’m not the type of guy who makes decisions on the fly, and when you are upset, hurt or whatever.”
  • Tony Parker, who turns 36 next month, is headed toward free agency after 17 years with the Spurs. He has expressed a desire to return to the team, but will probably have to accept a significant pay cut after making $15.4MM this season. “I said already I want to keep playing,” Parker stated. “I’m happy I don’t have those retirement parties. I want to keep playing, and we’ll see if it’s in San Antonio. Everybody knows I would love to stay here. But free agency is always crazy, so we’ll see.”
  • Pau Gasol, 37, expressed a desire to play another three to four seasons. He is under contract for $16.8MM next year, with a non-guaranteed $16MM in 2019/20.
  • Green [$10MM for next season], Rudy Gay [$8.8MM] and Joffrey Lauvergne [$1.7MM] all have a June 29 deadline to exercise their player options. “This organization is a big part of me,” Green said, “and I would love to play here again, would love to come back. But things get interesting in free agency.”

Injury Updates: Hill, Irving, Wall, Gasol

An MRI confirmed that Cavaliers guard George Hill sprained his left ankle in last night’s win over the Pelicans, writes Joe Vardon of Hill was pulled from the game midway through the third quarter after landing awkwardly on a layup attempt.

Hill has been declared out of Sunday’s game with the Mavericks, but there is no word on his availability beyond that. He will undergo treatment and rehab, but the team hasn’t set a timetable for a return, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link).

Hill has been a valuable addition to the Cavs since he was acquired from the Kings in a deal at the deadline. He has appeared in 22 games, all starts, and is averaging 9.9 points and 2.9 assists per night.

There’s more injury-related news from around the NBA:

  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens offered an update on the progress of Kyrie Irving, who underwent a procedure on his left knee last week, relays Chris Forsberg of ESPN (Twitter link). “I saw him yesterday,” Stevens said, “spent a lot of time with him. Spirits were good. Bending, extending his knee on a training table. No on-court videos. No 360 dunks.”
  • John Wall played 33 minutes today in his first game since arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in January. However, the Wizards aren’t going to take a chance with using him in back-to-back games as coach Scott Brooks has already ruled him out of Sunday’s contest in Chicago, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
  • Spurs center Pau Gasol will continue to play through a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). Gasol said the shoulder is “going to nag” him for the rest of the season.
  • An MRI conducted today showed that Trail Blazers forward Ed Davis has a sprained right ankle, according to Casey Holdahl of (Twitter link). Davis will be re-evaluated in seven to 14 days and may miss the start of the playoffs.
  • Hornets guard Dwayne Bacon was removed from today’s game with a right ankle sprain, the team tweeted. Further evaluation will be needed to determine the extent of the damage.
  • Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry is listed as probable for Sunday’s game with the Magic, according to Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal Constitution (Twitter link). Bembry has been limited to 21 games this season and hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury Feb. 23.

Southwest Notes: Gasol, Nowitzki, Mills, Pelicans

Despite an injury to his left ankle at Eurobasket, Grizzlies center Marc Gasol says he is healthy and prepared to start the season, Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal writes.

“My body feels really good,” Gasol said. “It was a freak accident. A guy dived for the ball and landed on my leg. It was kind of a sprain on my left ankle but it’s fine. For 15-20 minutes, I wasn’t sure if I would continue to play but it worked out great.”

In the same story, Tillery writes that Brandan Wright is in good standing with the Grizzlies after seemingly being displeased with the team following an early playoff exit last season. The team created playing time for Wright by not re-signing veteran Zach Randolph. Now, the team enters the new season with a rejuvenated confidence from two of its key assets.

Read about more happenings around the Southwest Division:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes 2017/18 could be Dirk Nowitzki‘s final season. However, the outspoken Cuban also feels Nowitzki may want to surpass Kobe Bryant‘s record of 20 straight seasons with one franchise, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter link). The coming season will be Nowitzki’s 20th in Dallas.
  • Pau Gasol has shed 10 pounds since last season ended and the 37-year-old is looking forward to helping the Spurs this season, Tom Orsborn of San Antonio Express-News writes. As Gasol explains, his free agency didn’t involve “a whole lot of flirting with other teams,” since potential suitors knew he wanted to return to San Antonio.
  • The Spurs re-signed Patty Mills quickly after the conclusion of last season. Mills believes the swift move was an indicator of his importance to the team, Melissa Rohlin of San Antonio Express-News writes.
  • The Pelicans have DeMarcus Cousins, a slew of veterans, and a young stalwart in Anthony Davis entering the new season. Larry Holder of writes that the team understands it is either now or never if the team wants to win since Cousins and the veterans may be gone next year.
  • Former North Carolina coach Mark Gottfried will be a scout for the Mavericks this season, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (Twitter link).

Pau Gasol Re-Signs With Spurs

July 24: The signing is official, according to a team press release. The deal will be for $48MM over three seasons with the final year’s salary being partially guaranteed, Adrian Wojnarowski of reports (ESPN Now link)

July 21: Veteran center Pau Gasol has agreed to a three-year contract with the Spurs, Adrian Wojnarowski of reports. The third year will be partially guaranteed, Wojnarowski adds.

Gasol opted out of the final year of his contract this summer but was expected all along to rejoin the Spurs. Gasol, 37, left $16.2MM on the table when he made that decision but he wanted to facilitate the team’s offseason.

The tradeoff was getting a couple more years of security. That helped the Spurs sign several free agents, including Rudy Gay.

Gasol played a lesser role last seson for San Antonio than he had for other clubs. However, he remained efficient when he did play. Averaging a career-low 25.4 minutes per game, the Spaniard chipped in 12.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 1.1 BPG. He also developed into a three-point shooter, shooting an eye-popping 53.8% from outside, with 0.9 threes per game.

Pau Gasol Opting Out, Plans To Re-Sign With Spurs

Pau Gasol will turn down his player option for the 2017/18 season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). However, Gasol intends to work out a new deal with the Spurs that will allow him to continue his career in San Antonio, Wojnarowski adds.Pau Gasol vertical

Gasol’s decision could have significant implications for the Spurs’ offseason and the club’s pursuit of free agents. The veteran big man would have earned about $16.2MM if he had exercised his option, but it sounds as if he’s willing to accept at a lesser rate to remain with the Spurs. The team will likely tack on a second or third guaranteed year to repay Gasol for taking a pay cut in 2017/18.

[RELATED: Five Key Offseason Questions: San Antonio Spurs]

Depending on how much Gasol’s salary is reduced, the Spurs could open up an extra chunk of cap room that will allow the team to be players in free agency. Without taking Gasol into consideration, San Antonio already has nearly $73.5MM in guaranteed salaries on its books for 2017/18. That doesn’t include possible deals for Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, and Jonathon Simmons, and still wouldn’t leave enough room to sign a veteran to a maximum salary contract, but removing Gasol’s option from the equation is the first step toward creating some flexibility.

Gasol saw his numbers drop off substantially during his first season with the Spurs, as he played a lesser role for the team than he had for other clubs. However, he remained efficient when he did play. Averaging a career-low 25.4 minutes per game, the Spaniard chipped in 12.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 1.1 BPG. He also developed into a three-point shot, shooting an eye-popping 53.8% from outside, with 0.9 threes per game.

As our player option decision tracker shows, the Spurs are also waiting to hear from David Lee about his minimum salary player option for 2017/18.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Spurs Notes: Ginobili, Hanga, Gasol, Mills

The end of the Spurs’ playoff run puts Manu Ginobili in a familiar position of deciding whether he wants to return for another season, writes Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. Ginobili, who will turn 40 in July, received two standing ovations late in Monday’s game from Spurs fans, who understood that it may have been his last night in the NBA. After 15 seasons, Ginobili said he will be in no hurry to decide if he wants another one. “I always wanted to let it sink in for three weeks, four weeks, whatever,” Ginobili said. “Then I will sit with my wife and see how it feels.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich recognized the magnitude of the moment, giving Ginobili his first start in three years. Ginobili responded with a 15-point, seven-assist performance that showed he might still have a future in the NBA. “It may or may not be the last game he ever plays in,” Popovich said. “I did not want to miss the opportunity to honor him in front of our home fans.”

There’s more news as the offseason begins in San Antonio:

  • Ginobili is among several veteran free agents on the roster, and the Spurs expect most of them to return next season, McDonald notes in the same story. Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons will both be free agents this summer, although Simmons will be restricted, and Pau Gasol, David Lee and Dewayne Dedmon all have player options for 2017/18. LaMarcus Aldridge said the team still has unfinished business to address. “To get here with so many new guys and so much new transition going on, it’s not a bad season,” he said. “I don’t think guys are satisfied with it. To get to the conference finals wasn’t our goal.”
  • If Ginobili retires, the Spurs will consider bringing over Adam Hanga to replace him, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. The Hungarian swingman was named Defensive Player of the Year in the Euroleague. San Antonio has owned his rights since drafting him with the 59th choice in 2011.
  • Gasol sounds like his mind is already made up about returning, relays Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Gasol, who turns 37 in July, signed a two-year contract last summer that includes a nearly $16.2MM option for next season. “I look forward to continuing to grow” in San Antonio’s system, he said after Monday’s game.
  • Mills plans to consider his options carefully before free agency starts, tweets Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. Mills, 28, has spent the past six years in San Antonio and made close to $3.6MM this season.

Western Notes: Galloway, Carraro, Mavs, Gasol

Langston Galloway came to the Kings in the DeMarcus Cousins trade and didn’t get much playing time initially, but he’s finding the court now as the team begins to rest its veterans. Coach Dave Joerger credits the point guard for staying ready even though he wasn’t receiving consistent minutes, as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee relays.

“I think he has a survivor mindset. … That mindset that, ‘you know what, when I get my opportunity I’m going to be ready’ and he’s done that,” Joerger said. “He’s practiced hard, he’s worked hard and he’s been ready, keeping himself ready for whatever minutes may come.”

Galloway is making $5.2MM this season and he can become a free agent during the summer if he turns down his $5.434MM player option for the 2017/18 campaign.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Lakers assistant GM Glenn Carraro has resigned, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). Carraro has been with Los Angeles since 2000.
  • It would be shocking if the Mavericks don’t select a point guard in the upcoming draft, Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News writes. Dallas currently owns the ninth spot in our Reverse Standings and there should be several point guard prospects worthy of being selected at the top of the draft.
  • Offseason addition Pau Gasol added the 3-pointer to his game and Jeff McDonald of the Express News notes that the big man has made over 54% of his attempts from downtown. That figure, which isn’t likely to decrease severely over the next few games, is by far the best percentage for a 7-footer in NBA history. Gasol has fit in well since coming to the Spurs and he has one more season on his contract after this one.

How Pau Gasol Is Fitting In With The Spurs

The Spurs signed Pau Gasol to a two-year, $30MM deal over the summer and he began the year in the starting lineup, something he’s done at every stop during his career. Yet, since coming back from a hand injury in February, he’s come off the bench. That’s not something that bothers the big man; he’s more concerned with winning.

“Right now we’re the second-best record in the league and we’re in a good spot,” Gasol said (via Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press). “That was the key reason why I came here.”

His 3-point range is giving the Spurs exactly what they need as they get set for another playoff run. He’s taking more shots from behind the arc (making 53,5% of them) than he has during any season in his entire career. “I’m trying to survive in this league that is evolving continuously,” Gasol said recently. Gasol’s ability to shoot from long-range has allowed LaMarcus Aldridge to thrive from inside the arc, Krawczynski notes.

Gregg Popovich didn’t intend for Gasol to play away from the basketball as much. “We didn’t sit him down and say now Pau, part of your role is going to be [shooting 3s],” Popovich said. “But it’s sort of evolved with the spacing and the way we do things with LaMarcus out there. It just evolved that way. He’s been successful at it so we just kind of let it roll.”

Gasol’s contract contains a player option for the 2017/18 campaign, meaning the Spaniard ostensibly could become a free agent again this offseason. However, it was previously reported that he intends to opt in and stay with the team. “My intention is to continue here, and to be here as long as I can,” Gasol said earlier this season.

The former No. 3 overall pick has been a great fit in San Antonio. He’s helped the team claim a record of 57-16, which is the second-best mark in the league.

The only team with a better record: the Warriors. The Spurs are one of two franchises that Golden State has not beaten this season (the Wizards are the other team, though the Warriors host them next weekend). The Spurs won the first two meetings and they’ll play again on Wednesday night. If San Antonio makes it three straight against the defending Western Conference champs, Gasol may not get much attention, but he’ll deserve credit for how he’s altered his game for the betterment of the team.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Knicks, P. Gasol, Raptors

The Sixers‘ announcement last week on Joel Embiid‘s knee surgery sounded like a positive one — the procedure was successful, and the team expects him to resume basketball activities this summer in preparation for the 2017/18 season. Still, as John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News writes, it’s hard not to be a little skeptical, given the way the 76ers have handled injury news this season.

While the Sixers may not have intentionally misled fans on the details of injuries to Embiid and Ben Simmons this season, the team’s handling of both players created more confusion than clarity. And as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes, that process seems to be repeating itself with Jahlil Okafor, whose status as of late has raised more questions than answers.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:

  • Pau Gasol received plenty of interest in free agency last summer before signing with San Antonio, but he was surprised not to receive a call from the Knicks, per Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knicks president Phil Jackson coached Gasol in Los Angeles years ago, but Jackson had “tunnel vision” when it came to free agent centers last summer, pursuing Joakim Noah without seriously considering Gasol, Berman writes.
  • Although the Knicks hope to identify a long-term answer at point guard this offseason, they aren’t a lock to take one with their first-round pick, a source tells Berman. Depending on where New York’s pick lands, it could make more sense for the club to grab a prospect like Kansas forward Josh Jackson.
  • With several key players, including Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, on track for free agency this summer, the Raptors will have to think long and hard about their next steps. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer examines a few potential direction the club could go in the coming months.
  • The numbers may not show it, but Amir Johnson is a valuable piece for the Celtics, says A. Sherrod Blakely of Johnson is in the final year of his contract and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency this offseason.