Los Angeles Lakers' center and/or power forward Pau Gasol spoke with NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper about his future with the organization and what to expect with his upcoming free agency this summer. Gasol laid out the three determining factors he will evaluate before signing his next contract: finances, loyalty to the organization and odds of being a title contender:
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"There's different factors you have to take into account," Gasol said. "The financial factor. That I've been with this franchise, for what I've been through, the loyalty I have to them. And also the chances of winning a championship. Those three are the most. What percentage I will give or prioritize, we'll see when the opportunities come along. But I would like to first be in a position to win a championship again and enjoy the last few years of my career and be in a good position to do so."
He also called potentially playing with his brother in Memphis and returning to the Grizzlies an "appealing" option, should it present itself:
"It's appealing," Pau Gasol told NBA.com. "One of the best centers in the NBA, one of the best interior players, is my brother. There's a lot of attractive factors there. But who knows if that's even a possibility or if that will ever happen. Right now, I'm just trying to focus on (the Lakers' opponents) and staying healthy and playing a very successful year so this team and others will have the certainty and the confidence that I am a difference maker, that I am an elite player and I have a lot of years in me."
There's plenty of salary implications being thrown around here, but that aside, it's interesting to note that he's clearly preparing mentally to be in discussions and is already saying, "this team and others." The Lakers used an over-$20-million-per-year chunk of their salary space on signing Kobe Bryant to his two-year extension and are in a tight spot financially to add more talent to the team through free agency. Our Ben Rosales went through the financial side of how Kobe' extension makes things difficult for the front office in detail, so be sure to give that a look.
Gasol is averaging 14.4 points per game, the second-lowest average of his career despite taking a team-high 14 attempts per game. He's also shooting a career-low 41.7 percent from the field one year removed from setting a new career-low in field goal percentage at 46.6 percent.
It's been previously reported that the Lakers have not spoken with Gasol about a contract extension. Be sure to check out the full interview from Howard-Cooper on NBA.com.
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