UPDATE 7/2/14 (4:00 PM PT):The Thunder are apparently very serious about bringing in Gasol, emerging as the front runner for his services according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:
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
Once NBA free agency got underway on Tuesday, Pau Gasol became one of the biggest names available along with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kyle Lowry. Although there’s been no indication as to what kind of offers Gasol has been receiving from teams, plenty of suitors have come forward.
Gasol let it be known that he wants to contend with the next team he plays for and isn’t as concerned about money in contract negotiations. One team that won’t be able to offer Gasol much, but will offer a chance to compete is the Oklahoma City Thunder and it appears the team is interested in the veteran’s services, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein:
ESPN sources say Pau Gasol and Mike Miller are indeed among free agents that Oklahoma City has engaged with since market opened
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2014
Before hitting the free agent market, Gasol admitted that he hasn’t ruled out returning to the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Gasol’s priority moving forward is competing for a third title, but will consider the Lakers mainly due to the presence of his longtime teammate Kobe Bryant.
As for the Thunder, Oklahoma City is looking for the final piece to the championship puzzle and Gasol may very well be that piece. Kendrick Perkins may be done in a Thunder uniform and Gasol would be a considerable upgrade at a discount price.
Gasol took to Twitter on Wednesday saying the following about his options in free agency:
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) July 2, 2014
Although Gasol’s best days in the NBA are likely behind him, the Spaniard could help a contender get over the hump next season. The Miami Heat are another team that inquired about his services along with the Lakers, Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors.
With no shortage of options, Gasol is great position to dictate terms and end up in an ideal position. The Lakers want the two-time NBA champion to return to Los Angeles, but only time will tell if the veteran center will be back or head to a better situation elsewhere.
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