Pau Gasol is an obvious target for the Raptors despite turning 36-years-old this week. The big Spaniard put up 46 double-doubles and two triple-doubles on the Bulls team last season. The big question is how Toronto will be able to put together enough salary cap space to sign him?
Toronto Raptors president and general manager Masai Ujiri has made it clear on several occasions that he has been looking to add a starting caliber power forward to his roster going back to last season’s trade deadline. There is confirmation his current target is the Chicago Bulls free agent big man Pau Gasol.
At the trade deadline Ujiri said, “that power forward position has always been a position that we need to get better. We understand that so we’ll try and figure that out whether that’s now or in the summer.”
ESPN sources say Toronto has emerged as another Pau Gasol suitor, but Gasol could well opt to delay his decision until after Kevin Durant’s.
Pau Gasol is an obvious target for the Raptors despite turning 36-years-old this week. The big Spaniard put up 46 double-doubles and two triple-doubles on a Bulls team in disarray last season. The six-time NBA All-Star may not be as good as he was during his two NBA Championship runs with the Lakers, however, he is still one of the better power forwards in the NBA and could be the bridge the Raptors need to maintain last year’s winning pace while their young big men get up to speed.
Unfortunately Ujiri won’t be alone in his pursuit of Gasol. The list of interested teams is long, likely longer than Marc Stein has indicated and the competition will be stiff.
Toronto/Minnesota/Portland/San Antonio have all registered firm interest in Gasol, but the landscape might be easier to judge after KD lands
Toronto doesn’t have the salary cap space to wow the veteran big man with a huge offer and they might not need it. Gasol, like Luis Scola last year, wants more than just money. He wants to win and he wants an important role on a team where he can be successful.
The Raptors can offer Gasol the starting power forward slot on a team that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, but only a modest salary unless Toronto can trade a current player for cap space. Ujiri will likely have to hope that what he has now is enough.
Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.