Los Angeles, CA - The Los Angeles Lakers will have a decision to make following the 2013 NBA season. Pau Gasol is in the final year of his contract and will be making $19.3 million this year. According to recent reports, Pau Gasol doesn’t intend to take much of a pay cut to remain with the Lakers once he does hit free agency.
If I perform well, am reliable, and put up a great season, then I’m sure the Lakers will have interest in extending me maybe before the season is over. We’ll see if there’s interest or not, and then go from there.” – Pau Gasol
As of right now, the Lakers will only have three contracts guaranteed after this season, and will likely be looking to make a splash in free agency. Pau Gasol will probably be asking for a fairly sizable contract, and while the Lakers will likely be interested in bringing him back on a new deal, it all depends on whether or not the two sides can find a deal that suits them both.
Gasol had a rough season last year due to injuries playing just 49 games total during the regular season. During those 49 games, he averaged 13.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. There’s absolutely no doubt that Gasol is capable of being a solid front-court scorer, but he hasn’t come through in the clutch to this point throughout his Lakers career.
That being said, Gasol’s career average absolutely has to mean something, especially if he performs at a decent level this coming year. He has averaged 18.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game throughout his career. There will undoubtedly be a number of teams interested in acquiring his services if he does indeed reach free agency.
Pau Gasol did make it clear that he would like to finish his playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he doesn’t see himself taking a large pay cut in order to do that. If the Lakers want to retain Gasol following this season, they’ll have to put in a competitive offer, which may not be something that they’re interested in doing.
Gasol was quoted as saying, “Probably not. You have to explore your options but I would like to continue to play for the Lakers and maybe finish my career here. But you have to see the cards on the table.”
Overall, this will be an interesting situation to keep an eye on as the NBA season progresses. There will likely be contract talks throughout the course of the year, but if a deal is to be had, the two sides will both have to compromise with the other and strike a number that works for both the franchise and Gasol’s future.