And that’s assuming there’s mutual interest from the Thunder, which hasn’t been confirmed at this point. ESPN’s Mark Stein reported late Monday night that it’s unlikely the Thunder pursues him.
After drafting Mitch McGary into an already crowded frontcourt, OKC’s biggest free agent need would seem to be on the perimeter. Ibaka, Steven Adams, Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins are all frontcourt players under contract next season. Hasheem Thabeet is on a non-guaranteed deal. But in the backcourt, OKC is expected to lose both Thabo Sefolosha and Caron Butler to free agency.
So for a franchise that needs guard help and has long preached internal growth, it seems a lot more likely the Thunder stick to minor backcourt deals rather than splurging most of its available money on frontcourt help.
But the appeal of Gasol, if he’s willing to take less money, could prove intriguing enough to sway the Thunder a bit from its typical path. He has a more proven post game than anyone that’s ever played in Oklahoma City and a unique ability to pass from the center spot which could help solve some of the offensive stagnation.
An intriguing option, no doubt. But one that still seems to be a long-shot as NBA free agency hits Day 1.