A day before free agency was set to begin, a potential big name already emerged as a possible Thunder target.
Reports from the L.A. Times indicate that Oklahoma City is among four teams Lakers center Pau Gasol, a two-time champion and four-time All-Star, will chat with in the near future.
“He will meet with Oklahoma City, Chicago and Golden State and might also sit down with the Lakers,” the L.A. Times article read.
This information leaked from Gasol’s camp and would seem to go in line with the big man’s wishes. As he enters the latter stages of his career, Gasol wants to be part of winning team and reportedly feels he can boost OKC’s title hopes. And in the past, the 33-year-old has been very complimentary of the Thunder, commending the organization and its passionate fanbase, while maintaining a friendship with Serge Ibaka, whom he has played with on the Spanish National Team.
But from the Thunder’s side of things, on both a financial and roster-building front, it’s a bit trickier.
Because of his injury issues and declining game, Gasol is expected to take a hefty pay cut from the $19 million he made last season. But still extremely skilled and highly respected, Gasol could likely still command near $10 million a year if he attacked his market value. Maybe he’d be willing to take less. But at this point, all the Thunder would have to offer is the $5.3 mid-level exception or a potential sign-and-trade – requiring some cooperation from the Lakers – that’s worth $6.6 million at most.