Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol is in the final year of a three-year, $60 million contract extension he signed in 2009. Pau is due to make $19.3 this season, and while the injured Gasol certainly wasn’t worth that price tag last year, proper utilization of his significant talents and a healthy set of wheels could vault Gasol right back to All-Star status if everything falls into place.
Beyond that? Nobody knows. The Lakers are hoping to be prime free agent movers this summer, what with Steve Nash already in place and both Gasol and Kobe Bryant’s contracts expiring. If Bryant signs for a reduced amount, something he’s already sworn off, and Gasol decides to take a large pay cut, the Lakers could still have enough scratch to bring in a boffo free agent for one last shot at a ring for the aging veterans.
Or, Gasol could leave outright, looking to approximate the pay scale that he’s used to. Staring down what could be his final season in Los Angeles (single tear), Gasol spoke with Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Daily News:
“If I perform well, am reliable and put up a great season, then I’m sure the Lakers will have interest in extending me maybe before the season is over,” Gasol said. “We’ll see if there’s interest or not. Then we’ll go from there.”
In the interest of the Lakers maximizing their financial flexibility, would Gasol accept taking a significant paycut?
“Probably not,” he said. “You have to explore your options, but I would like to continue to play for the Lakers and maybe finish my career here. But you have to see the cards on the table.”
Gasol isn’t really angling here, but it doesn’t take a negotiatin’ maven to point out that you don’t give your potential employers the option of expecting a pay cut some nine months before free agency hits.
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