When the summer hits, don’t expect Pau Gasol to consider the Los Angeles Clippers as a possible destination.
“Going to the Clippers would be very difficult for me because they’re our neighbors and there’s a very strong rivalry there,” he said. “So it would be very difficult for me to consider that as a real option.”
via Pau Gasol will give priority to title contenders when he chooses team | The Los Angeles Times
It’s nice to see Pau Gasol value his rivalry with the Clippers, but unless the Spanish big man was going to sign a deal close to the league minimum, there is zero chance that Gasol could end up a Clippers. With increases to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan‘s contracts combined with the low salaries of possible opt-out’s in Darren Collison, Glen Davis, and Danny Granger, the Clippers will have little wiggle room as they stray close to the luxury tax line. Luckily for the organization, the salary cap has been rumored to increase by around $5 million next million giving them breathing room, but that cap space still wouldn’t be enough to acquire the talents of someone like Pau Gasol.
Not only is salary an issue, but there would be little playing time for Gasol as he’d be forced to be the sixth man off the bench behind either Jordan or Blake. Based on his play, Gasol still has the ability to be a starter in this league, coming off a 60-game season where he averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds while often dealing with injuries. There’s going to be some team that will overpay for Gasol’s services before he decides to take a small salary in order to compete for championship off the bench.
While Gasol doesn’t have the talent to carry a team, he can certainly be a serviceable piece on a contender. He can still score the ball and create for others, a talent that any team could use. If I had to make any bets, I’d expect Gasol to be out East when everything is all said and done, far away from anything related to Los Angeles.