San Antonio Spurs: Pau Gasol to Opt Out of Contract, Re-Sign

By Rob Wolkenbrod
May 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) reacts in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
May 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) reacts in game four of the second round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The San Antonio Spurs will reportedly get Pau Gasol back on a lesser deal for next season.

The San Antonio Spurs brought in Pau Gasol in the 2016 offseason hoping he would fill part of the gap Tim Duncan left in the big man rotation. Gasol signed a two-year, $31 million deal, with a player option for the 2017-18 season.

With the Spaniard’s first season in San Antonio over, attention turned to if he would exercise his option for next season, which is worth about $16 million. Just days into the offseason, however, the decision got made.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Gasol will opt out of his contract for 2017-18. However, he and the Spurs will work out a “longer term deal to remain. He’ll also return at a lesser salary:

Sources: Pau Gasol will decline his $16.2M option for 2017-18, but intends to work with Spurs on a longer term deal to remain with team.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 20, 2017

For the Spurs, this is a way to get salary cap relief on the 2017-18 roster. Gasol will return on a smaller annual salary. https://t.co/BNtilHNMAx

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) June 20, 2017

Gasol taking less money will help with free agency approaching. It opens up some cap room for the Spurs to bring in better pieces, as the franchise tries to take down the Golden State Warriors next season.

The name most often linked to the Spurs, is Chris Paul. He will become a free agent this July, when he can terminate his deal before its final year. Could Gasol’s lower salary be enough to pay Paul?

As for Gasol’s recent production, it was down from previous seasons. This came in just 25.4 minutes per game — a career low. He averaged 12.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in 64 games, which was down significantly from his 2015-16 season, with the Chicago Bulls.

If the Spurs believe Gasol is in decline, then it will be interesting to see how long they re-sign him for, along with the annual salary. Maybe it’s another two-year deal, with the pay around $8-12 million per year.

Next: Spurs' 2017 NBA Mock Draft

Gasol will be back in the black, silver and white for the 2017-18 season, and possibly beyond. Is this the right move to make?

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