The Pau Gasol-to-the-Raptors dream, if you were one of the people having it, is dead.
We normally wouldn’t pass along non-Raptors free agents signing with other teams, but the rumored pursuit of Gasol had become quite the talking point around these parts. The veteran Spaniard, however, is finalizing a deal with the San Antonio Spurs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
I wrote in detail about the possibility of adding Gasol yesterday, and at the rumored price and the gymnastics that would be required to clear out the space, I wasn’t on-board. At a discount, sure, but with a reported salary of $18-22 million, losing Terrence Ross, maybe Lucas Nogueira, and the mid-level exception, all to pay a soon-to-be-36-year-old who isn’t the most natural two-way fit was too much in my books. Some disagreed, and that’s more than fine – Daniel Hackett of RaptorsHQ, for example, did a great job making the case for Gasol.
It never really felt all that likely, though. If Gasol wanted to play the mentor role while maximizing salary, the Blazers and Wolves made sense. If he wanted to take a discount to chase a ring, the Spurs or even Warriors made sense. The Raptors may have been a middle-ground, but with Kevin Durant landing in Oakland and Tim Duncan reportedly leaning toward retirement, the Spurs came correct.
Gasol’s deal will pay him more than $30 million and allow him to opt out next summer if he chooses. Factoring in the Spurs’ pedigree and the price tag, that’s a tough deal for the Raptors to match, and they may not have been willing to do it even if Gasol was game. At the very least, the Raptors made Gasol’s decision a tough one, which speaks worlds about how far the organization has come from the standpoint of attracting sought-after veterans.
For Gasol, the combo of Spurs talent, history, relationship with Pop was tough to overcome. Toronto, Portland were serious until end.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) July 4, 2016
So, yeah, no Gasol to Toronto. Sorry everyone.
Now bring me Boris Diaw.