Pau Gasol Will Sign with Spurs in 2016 Free Agency, Guesses Marc Gasol

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2016

Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol looks up as the Milwaukee Bucks take a free throw during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 3, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
Darren Hauck/Associated Press

For years, basketball fans have contemplated the idea of the Gasol brothers playing together. If Marc had his way, though, his brother Pau would be playing for a bitter rival next season. 

"If I had to guess—not that I've talked to him about it—would be San Antonio," Marc Gasol said Monday when asked where he thought his brother would sign, per John Martin of 929 ESPN.

Gasol also said he would advise Pau to sign with the San Antonio Spurs if he were in charge of his career, per Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal.

Pau Gasol, who turns 36 in July, has a player option for $7.7 million next season with the Chicago Bulls. He is expected to decline that option and become an unrestricted free agent

Once Gasol hits the open market, his destination will ultimately depend on what he wants at this stage of his career. It's likely Gasol ends his tenure in Chicago after two seasons. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported it would be a "surprise" if Gasol returned. He did not sound like a player enthused by his situation at the end of the regular season.

"Nothing is set right now," Gasol said,  per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. "Definitely, I will evaluate what I need to when the time comes. But the way the team has responded to adversity and the way we finished up the season has not been so far great, and it's been disappointing. So at the end of the day, when the time comes, I will evaluate things. It's hard to finish the season like this."

Gasol, while a defensive minus in nearly every aspect, remains an effective offensive player. He averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game this season. His unselfishness would be a perfect match with San Antonio's motion-based offense, and it's possible Gasol would wind up replacing Tim Duncan, if he chose to retire.   

Defense would be the biggest issue. Every Gasol-helmed lineup had troubles on that end, as his loss of lateral quickness made him a liability, despite his continued offensive production. Bulls opponents scored 1.3 more points per 100 possessions with Gasol on the floor this season, per Basketball-Reference.com, continuing a trend from 2014-15.

As it stands, Gasol is an uberskilled big man who is best in a designated hitter role. He's probably best at this point coming off the bench for 20 to 25 minutes per game, filling up the offensive stat sheet against less skilled second-unit bigs and guards.

The Spurs would provide him with that type of opportunity. But if Gasol's looking to cash in on one last big NBA payday before riding off, he'll probably have to look elsewhere. 

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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