With the decisions of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony firmly on the horizon, free agency’s other big-name players will soon be choosing their destinations, too. One of the most highly-sought secondary stars available is Pau Gasol, who has been courted by almost every prominent team in the league. And according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, the San Antonio Spurs are “inching closer” to the Chicago Bulls as favorites to land him.
Spurs persistence on Pau Gasol keeping them a serious contender, inching closer to the Bulls, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2014
It was previously reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder were the “frontrunner” for Gasol in part because Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook pitched him face-to-face in Los Angeles last week. But conflicting news has emerged in the interim, with some outlets reporting that OKC was still a major player in the Gasol sweepstakes and others that they’d been eliminated from contention entirely.
The Bulls and Spurs, however, have been constants in the running for Gasol from the beginning. Chicago will have ample cap space to offer the Spaniard a worthwhile salary if Anthony chooses to remain in New York as expected and the Bulls make good on plans to amnesty Carlos Boozer. But despite its financial disadvantage, San Antonio could be a better option for Gasol given his known preference to play for a legitimate championship contender and the uncertain status of Derrick Rose.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears, though, the Los Angeles Lakers still loom.
Lakers FA Pau Gasol met with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak at the practice facility last night, a source said.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 10, 2014
Unless Anthony reverses course and signs with the Los Angeles, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be competitive next season in a loaded Western Conference. But the Lakers only have Kobe Bryant’s inflated contract on the books past this season, and part of Gasol’s supposed reluctance to sign with Oklahoma City is leaving a cosmopolitan city like LA. As in any free agency race, it would be foolish to count the Lakers out here.
But it appears the Bulls and Spurs lead the way. Will Gasol opt for financial security and market over a better chance to win a title? Stay tuned.
Where do you want Gasol to sign?
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