Spurs make it official, sign Gasol
SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio Spurs signed Pau Gasol, beefing up a front line that will be without Tim Duncan next season for the first time in 19 years. They brought back guard Manu Ginobili, too.
The 7-foot Gasol has won two NBA titles and is a six-time All-Star. Gasol is one of six players in NBA history to reach 19,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocks, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett and Duncan, who retired earlier this week.
The Spurs did not release terms Thursday, but a person with knowledge of the situation previously told The Associated Press that he has a two-year deal worth more than $30 million.
The 36-year-old Gasol has been one of the league's most talented and versatile big men for the last 15 years. He spent the last two seasons in Chicago and averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists this year, his game showing few signs of aging. An unselfish player, he should fit right in with Gregg Popovich's ball-moving system, and the Spurs' reputation for resting players for the playoffs had to be appealing to Gasol.
Ginobili, a four-time champion with the Spurs, will return for his 15th season. He has averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.37 steals in 923 games.
There were a number of suitors lining up for Gasol, including Portland, Minnesota and Toronto. The Timberwolves offered him a two-year deal worth $36 million to open negotiations, but Gasol wanted to play for a team that was ready to contend for a championship and he joins a Spurs frontcourt that features LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard.
Over 1,055 career NBA games, Gasol has averaged 18.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.68 blocks while shooting .510 from the floor and .755 from the free throw line in 35.3 minutes. He has appeared in 115 career playoff games, averaging 16.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 38 minutes. He has also helped Spain win silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The 2002 Rookie of the Year was drafted with the third overall pick in 2001 and immediately dealt by Atlanta to Memphis, where he spent his first six-plus seasons. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers and won championships there in 2009 and 2010. He signed with the Bulls in 2014.