Two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his NBA career this July with plenty of potentially showing interest showing interest in acquiring his services.
With Gasol clearly frustrated with his role with the Los Angeles Lakers the last two years due to Mike D’Antoni’s system and the endless trade rumors, the consensus seems to be he’ll leave the team in free agency this summer.
Following D’Antoni’s resignation, the speculation continues surrounding Gasol’s immediate future with the Lakers.
During a promotional event for Banco Popular recently, Gasol was asked if D’Antoni leaving has changed his stance on free agency. Gasol said the following according to Jesus Sanchez of Marca.com:
“Mike leaving was not the be-all and end-all, but it is another factor. What is certain is that we are without a coach and I say ‘we’ because I’m still thinking of myself as a Lakers player,” he said.
With D’Antoni deciding to resign, the door has been left wide open for Gasol to return next season. Gasol still remains undecided and for good reason with the start of free agency still more than a month away, but it would be safe to say D’Antoni’s departure has improved the team’s chances of retaining him.
The Lakers may have a better chance to keep Gasol in Los Angeles with D’Antoni moving on, but Gasol will have plenty of suitors in the off-season. If Gasol is determined to improve his opportunity to win a third ring before calling it a career, potential title contenders will likely show interest making it that much harder for the Lakers to bring him back.
As of right now, the Lakers have a fighting chance to bring back the Spaniard with free agency right around the corner. That may very well change in July with teams competing for his services with potentially more money and a chance to win another championship on the table.
Mike D’Antoni OUT, Resigns As Lakers Head Coach – Magic Johnson Says He Couldn’t Be Happier