Whispers that the Spurs were making Pau Gasol available in trades prior to the deadline circulated and it’s possible that the big man had requested the team search for a suitor. Last week, an ESPN Deportes report suggested as much, but Gasol disputed that rumor today.
“What’s the source?” Gasol said of rumors of him requesting a trade (via Tom Orsborn of My San Antonio). “What’s the validity of that story? I don’t know. I didn’t request to be traded.”
The report did not cite a source, instead simply stating (translation from Spanish) that Gasol had asked the team for a trade. The 38-year-old did admit that the current situation is not what he expected it would be.
“I think people understand or can figure out that my situation is not what was expected for me,” Gasol said when speaking with the local media today. “My only wish and desire is to be able to contribute to the team and be able to be on the floor and do what I am supposed to do and do what I signed here to do, and kind of live up to what I am paid for.”
The Spurs re-signed the Spaniard to a three-year, $48MM deal back in the summer of 2017 with visions of continuing the Gasol-LaMarcus Aldridge pairing. However, this season, Gasol has struggled to find a consistent role. In his 26 games played, he has played no more than nine minutes in 10 of them, while seeing 20 minutes or more on just three occasions.
Only $6.7MM of Gasol’s roughly $16MM salary for the 2019/20 campaign is guaranteed and Orsborn writes that the Spurs have looked at ways to “rid themselves” of what’s left on the big man’s deal. Could that be via a buyout? Gasol was asked about the possibility.
“There are a lot of rumors, a lot of stories,” he said. “Who knows where that comes from. It would be great if people say, ‘Hey, this person has said this.’ OK, then let’s talk to this person…But I don’t know. It didn’t come from me. So ask whoever that source or that outlet found that information. Go ask them. I think that’s just fair. Or ask management, right?”
Gasol believes he can still contribute. “I love this game,” he said. “I love what I do. I work hard to be able to do what I do, and I want to continue to do it. I know I may not be in my prime, but I think I can still contribute at a very high level and be an important impact for my team and make my team better.”