San Antonio Spurs Are Inching Closer to Pau Gasol

By Erik Lambert

Jan 24, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol (16) drives to the basket as Orlando Magic power forward Glen Davis (11) defends during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 114-105. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It is still a long shot but the keys for the world champion San Antonio Spurs to land coveted free agent Pau Gasol are coming together.

Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City can’t get past money issues

One would think the Lakers are the obvious threat in the Western Conference to get Gasol consider his history there but in truth that isn’t the case.  The biggest threat to the Spurs and their pitch in the West are the Oklahoma City Thunder.  They have visions of forming a core with superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook with a stout front court built around Serge Ibalka and Gasol.  To that end they have pressed very hard to convince him of the benefits.  Unfortunately every time the subject comes up, the other shoe doesn’t take long to drop.  OKC simply doesn’t have the financial flexibility to make it work.  Gasol has asked for around $10 million per year in any contract deal.  The Thunder could barely pay half that..  It’s just not a realistic scenario regardless of the championship possibilities.

Carmelo Anthony seriously considering Bulls

However, the key for the San Antonio Spurs rests with the decision of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.  He and LeBron James have held the NBA world in their clutches for over a week regarding their free agency decisions.  Up until recently it was felt Anthony was heading back to New York on a maximum contract.  That would be difficult news for the Spurs because it would the Chicago Bulls, who were in the Anthony chase, would then turn to Gasol as their Plan B.  They can afford to pay him more than any other suitor, have a championship-caliber roster and sit in a weak Eastern Conference.  It’s as an ideal scenario as any veteran player can find.

However, a glimmer of hope arrived for San Antonio when news broke that sources claimed Anthony had not made a final decision was seriously reconsidering a move to Chicago.  Such an event, which is very possible, would take the Bulls out of the Gasol conversation.  At that point the only real threat to the San Antonio Spurs landing him would be Phil Jackson and the Knicks.  Despite having plenty of money, that situation is unlikely since the Knicks would’ve needed Anthony to lure Gasol in the first place.  Thus the San Antonio Spurs, through their typical patience and opportunism swipe a player that could land them that long elusive repeat championship.