Friday at 11:59 p.m. is quietly a big mile marker on the long road to the NBA’s postseason. That’s because if a player is not bought out by then, they won’t be eligible to join a new team in time for the playoffs, meaning those who want the opportunity to compete for a championship but want to seek greener pastures have an interesting few hours ahead of them.
One such player is Pau Gasol, the legendary big man who has appeared in 27 games for the San Antonio Spurs this season. The Spurs are in a battle for the playoff lives at the bottom of the Western Conference, and according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, their postseason push will come without Gasol on the roster, as the two sides agreed to a buyout.
Gasol is a veteran with championship experience, so even if he’s not the player he once was, he could serve as a useful addition for a young team with title hopes. For that reason, Wojnarowski reports the Milwaukee Bucks will bring Gasol on board.
Milwaukee has the best record in the NBA, and earlier in the day, Marc Stein of the New York Times brought word they were considering getting involved in the buyout market for a center, contemplating bringing Marcin Gortat in before deciding to go in a different direction.
The Bucks could certainly use some reinforcements at the 5, and in a limited role off the bench, Gasol is a fun fit in head coach Mike Budenholzer’s system, especially considering Budenholzer spent nearly two decades as an assistant under Gregg Popovich. Gasol won’t single-handedly swing a championship or anything, but he fills a role and going to Milwaukee gives him a chance to pursue another ring, so this is a move that makes sense.