Pau Gasol is rumored to be involved in Kawhi Leonard trade talks between the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers.
As everyone awaits a Kawhi Leonard trade, the San Antonio Spurs continue to hold their cards and wait for the right deal to arrive, as the Boston Celtics, both Los Angeles teams, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors have all been reported as suitors. Would one of these teams have to take on someone aside from Leonard, though?
According to Chris Sheridan of Get Me Sports, the Spurs want to keep Pau Gasol, but they are “examining all options, which includes making him part of a Leonard deal. It’s to aid the process of acquiring more assets from the Sixers.
San Antonio re-signed Gasol to a three-year, $48 million deal in the 2017 offseason, with the final season partially guaranteed. So, if the Spurs move him, the Sixers can slide out of his money for 2019-20 and create cap flexibility for the 2019 offseason.
If the Spurs were to pair Leonard and Gasol’s salaries in a trade, it would mean $36 million goes to Philadelphia. If Robert Covington goes the other way, that’s a $10.4 million salary. It may also take Markelle Fultz‘ $8.5 million, pending Philadelphia willingly includes him. Jerryd Bayless‘ $8.5 million can also go to the Silver and Black and be bought out.
Along with draft pick compensation (the Miami Heat’s 2021 first-round pick), the Spurs and Sixers match up well. It’s the question of how much the latter will give up, though, from its talented pool of assets, that also features Dario Saric, a rising forward with just two years of experience. A Leonard trade might put them over the top in the Eastern Conference, too, which no longer has LeBron James and only a deep Boston Celtics team to challenge them. Will they be able to match up?