The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have already expressed interest in Pau Gasol. Now it’s the Oklahoma City Thunder’s turn to recruit the four-time All-Star and two-time champion, and they’re leaving no stone unturned in doing so. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook personally pitched Gasol in Los Angeles today on the idea of joining the Thunder.
ESPN has learned that Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook made a come-to-OKC pitch directly to Pau Gasol today in Los Angeles
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
Durant and Westbrook’s support of bringing Gasol aboard is further confirmation of what we already know – that Pau is a perfect fit in Oklahoma City. The Thunder have been an elite offense over the past few seasons despite a decided lack of a back-to-the-basket big man. Both Durant and Westbrook have made strides as post players, but still function best as attackers from the perimeter. And as much improvement as Serge Ibaka has made since 2011, he still lacks the requisite feel and foot-work to function as a threat down low.
Gasol would certainly shore up that deficiency and also give OKC another player capable of creating offense for others. Though he’s not the defensive player he was several years ago, Pau is hardly a net negative on that end. He’s smart, committed, and actually blocked more shots (1.8) per 36 minutes last season than he has in any year since 2008.
The question now is one of price. Oklahoma City is capped out and will only have the midlevel exception to offer players of Gasol’s caliber. According Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears, Sam Presti and company understand the limits of their restricted financial flexibility but remain steadfast in pursuing the Spanish superstar.
Thunder view run at Lakers FA Pau Gasol a "long shot" with only mid-level to offer, but they also believe "its worth a try," a source says.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 3, 2014
Gasol will definitely have more lucrative offers than the Thunder’s, but doesn’t appear dead-set at this point on inking the most expensive deal possible. Indeed, Oklahoma City is apparently the clubhouse leader for his services.
In a surprising twist, OKC has come on strong with Pau Gasol, and described as a "frontrunner" for the Spaniard.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 2, 2014
Regardless of where he ends up, it seems likely that Pau will sign with a winner. After two dismal seasons in Los Angeles, it will be nice watching him play for a contender again. Veterans like Gasol deserve to spend their career’s final years fighting for titles.
Where do you want Gasol to sign?
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