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The Toronto Raptors Are After Pau Gasol

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.”

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 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_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.





One thought on “The Toronto Raptors Are After Pau Gasol

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    If I’m Pau Gasol or Gasol’s agent, the very first call I make is to Golden State and offer them a blank contract, allowing the Dubs to fill in the salary amount they can afford.

    Gasol’s already made crazy money over his long and storied career. It’s about winning championships for him now, and winning championships in a place that also offers him a wide variety of cultural experiences. He had the opportunity to sign w the Spurs and Thunder two seasons ago, yet chose Chicago for both basketball and outside reasons. Clearly the Spurs and Thunder offered Pau a
    better basketball opportunity than the Bulls, yet he chose Chicago, where he quickly became a season ticket holder to the Lyric Opera and a regular attendee at the Chicago Symphony as well as the theater. He can get the exact same off-the-court experience in San Francisco as a member of the Warriors while increasing his chances of winning another title or two before retiring.

    So I say he’s heading to the ‘Dubs on a cheap, cheap contract.

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