Gasol the new man for Spurs

Spaniard's two-year deal with San Antonio to bring added muscle after Duncan's departure

NEW YORK • The San Antonio Spurs, looking to fill a void left by the retirement of future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan, added Pau Gasol on Thursday in an effort to shore up their front line.

The terms of the contract were not disclosed, but it was widely reported that Gasol, the only National Basketball Association player to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists a game last season, signed a two-year deal worth US$30 million (S$40.3 million).

The Spaniard, a 15-year NBA veteran who played for the Chicago Bulls last season, had previously written in the Players' Tribune that he would be joining the Spurs, who are five-time champions.

"I am thrilled to join an unbelievable NBA franchise, with an amazing head coach and staff and a roster full of talent, toughness and competitiveness," he wrote.

"I will be part of a team who have become a role model for their consistency, loyalty to their players, style of play, philosophy and overall excellence."

The 36-year-old forward-centre has averaged 18.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.68 blocks during a 15-season NBA career that has included stints with the Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Lakers and Bulls.

 "I am thrilled to join an unbelievable NBA franchise."
Pau Gasol shooting during a pre-Olympic training session with the Spanish national team in Madrid on July 6. The 15-year NBA veteran said after signing for the San Antonio Spurs: "I am thrilled to join an unbelievable NBA franchise." PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

The Catalonia native, who was the 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year, has also played for the Spanish national team since 2001, appearing at the last three Olympics and helping Spain claim silver medals in 2008 and 2012.

Gasol was originally drafted third overall in 2001 by the Atlanta Hawks before being dealt immediately to Memphis.

Traded to the Lakers during the 2007-08 season, he won NBA titles in 2009 and 2010 with Los Angeles.

He is one of six NBA players to reach 19,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocks in his career, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett and Duncan.

On Thursday, the Spurs also re-signed Manu Ginobili. The 38-year-old Argentinian, who has played only for the Spurs during his NBA career, returned on a contract that will pay him US$14 million.

He had opted out of his US$2.9 million contract to become a free agent.

  • 15

  • Points Pau Gasol averaged last season with Chicago, to go with 10 rebounds and four assists.

Last week, the four-time NBA champion announced that he was returning to the Spurs, for whom he has averaged 14 points per game, for a 15th season.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'Gasol the new man for Spurs'. Print Edition | Subscribe