The San Antonio Spurs made their first big move in free agency Thursday evening, adding forward Rudy Gay on a two-year contract. Gay, who is coming off an Achilles injury, is expected to play a stretch-four role next to Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio’s frontcourt.
This leaves the statuses of both LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol clearly up in the air, especially with the Spurs still waiting to see what happens with both Tony Parker and Jonathon Simmons.
Still up against the cap and without a ton of wiggle room, San Antonio remains interested in re-signing Gasol to a long-term contract.
“The team is still expected to negotiate a long-term deal with center Pau Gasol,” Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News reports.
There’s a couple issues with this.
Can the Spurs really rely on Gasol and Gay to bang with top-end big men in the Western Conference this upcoming season? Each player leaves a whole heck of a lot to be desired on the defensive end of the court. That has not necessarily been San Antonio’s MO under Gregg Popovich.
Secondly, how much would it actually cost to retain an aging and regressing Gasol? The 37-year-old center averaged just 12.4 points in his first season with the Spurs in 2016-17. It was Gasol’s lowest point total in what will eventually be a Hall of Fame career.
If San Antonio can retain Gasol on the cheap, it might be able to set the team up for a run at one of the top-end free agents next summer. However, committing anything to him beyond the 2017-18 campaign makes absolutely no sense.