Pau Gasol Reportedly to Sign with Bucks After Being Bought out by Spurs

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) reacts during the second half of Game 4 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, April 22, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Pau Gasol's tenure with the San Antonio Spurs ended abruptly Friday.

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Gasol and the Spurs agreed to terms on a buyout that keeps him playoff eligible. 

Wojnarowski added Gasol will sign with the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks. On Saturday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Gasol gave back $2.5 million of his salary to help facilitate the buyout.

After news of Gasol's departure broke, he tweeted a farewell message to the Spurs and their fans:

Pau Gasol @paugasol

Today, I bid farewell to @spurs. It’s been a dream to play for 1 of most storied franchises in @NBA history, an honor to be part of Spurs family. To all the staff, my teammates, the coaches, RC, Pop and, above all, the fans, thank you for making this place so special. #GoSpursGo! https://t.co/PCw7Ez9PpP

Gasol was in the second season of a three-year, $48 million agreement he signed in July 2017. The deal included a $6.7 million partial guarantee for 2019-20, per ESPN's Zach Lowe.

The transition to San Antonio wasn't smooth for Gasol over the past three seasons. He only appeared in 64 games in 2016-17 due to a fractured metacarpal suffered during a pregame warm-up in January that caused him to miss one month.

After he played in 77 games last season, Gasol was again bitten by the injury bug early in 2018-19. He missed 26 contests in November and December with a stress fracture in his left foot.

The Spurs kept a close eye on Gasol's playing time, as he averaged a career-low 12.2 minutes per game. He's still effective when he gets on the court, with 12.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per 36 minutes and a shooting percentage of 46.6.

The 38-year-old's ability to score from anywhere on the court gives him tremendous value, even in a limited role. 

Milwaukee doesn't need to add help to compete for an NBA Finals spot. The team already owns the league's best record (47-14), ranks first in defensive efficiency (104.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) and fourth in offensive efficiency (113.5).

Gasol gives head coach Mike Budenholzer one more asset he can use to ease some of the burden on Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Bucks prepare for the postseason.