One of the most important, and difficult, decisions will involve longtime Laker Pau Gasol. Gasol has helped the team win two championships, but his play has slipped severely as of late and many doubt that he will be back in Los Angeles next season.
In an interview with NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper, Gasol discussed free agency and the most important factors in his impending free agency decision:
There’s different factors you have to take into account. The financial factor. That I’ve been with this franchise, for what I’ve been through, the loyalty I have to them. And also the chances of winning a championship. Those three are the most. What percentage I will give or prioritize, we’ll see when the opportunities come along. But I would like to first be in a position to win a championship again and enjoy the last few years of my career and be in a good position to do so.
Gasol is a loyal person and would likely love to stay with the Lakers, but at this point, it is unlikely that the Lakers will offer Gasol a significant amount of money to stay with the team. He is averaging on 14.4 points and 9.5 rebounds this season, and while the Lakers have been bad defensively as a whole, Gasol, in particular, has generally looked slow in most games this season.
There will surely be contending teams who will be looking for an extra big man to help bring them a championship. The Heat, Pacers, and Trail Blazers immediately come to mind. If Gasol truly is focused on getting one more championship, there is a chance that he could make the move to leave LA before the Lakers part ways with him in free agency.
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