After Kobe Bryant signed his two-year contract extension worth roughly $48.5 million dollars, many critics believed that the Lakers had dug themselves in a hole because restrictions in the new collective bargaining agreement could potentially prevent the franchise from signing max-level talent to play alongside Bryant.
One thing that most are forgetting is how Bryant’s new contract impacts Gasol’s situation. Gasol is a free agent after this season, and it’s possible that the Lakers, as well as fans, felt that he’s a lock to come back next season. However that’s not the case.
Pau recently spoke to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com about his future with the Lakers and this upcoming off-season. In that interview, he spoke about the idea of partnering up with his brother Marc Gasol and going to Memphis to finish his career.
“It’s appealing,” Gasol said to NBA.com. “One of the best centers in the NBA, one of the best interior players, is my brother. There’s a lot of attractive factors there. But who knows if that’s even a possibility or if that will ever happen.
We sometimes lose sight of the fact that the Memphis Grizzlies were the first NBA franchise that Pau played for. He spent almost seven seasons there prior to being traded to the Lakers in 2008. With the Grizzlies having some cap space available in 2014, paired with the emergence of his brother Marc as an established star in the league, they present a strong case for Pau to leave.
Pau still made it known that this is all speculation, and that he is still focused on being a Laker for the time being.
“Right now, I’m just trying to focus on (the Lakers’ opponents) and staying healthy and playing a very successful year so this team and others will have the certainty and the confidence that I am a difference maker.”
Ultimately, Gasol’s future will depend on his performance this season, which hasn’t been impressive so far. He’s got the rest of this season to show what he has left, and if it isn’t up to par with what the Lakers are expecting, then it’s likely that he won’t return.
Regardless of that, Gasol will always be appreciated amongst Laker fans for his contributions in the 2009 and 2010 championships. Because of that he’ll live in Laker lore forever, no matter what uniform he wears next season.
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