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NBA Free Agency Rumors: Pau Gasol was 'open' to returning to the Lakers

It sounds like that window has passed though, now.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The first night of free agency just keeps getting stranger. First, the Los Angeles Lakers signed Timofey Mozgov to a four-year, $64 million deal right out of the gates of free agency. The signing isn't totally indefensible. The Lakers have a desperate need for frontcourt contributors, and while that may seem like a lot of money and years for Mozgov, we don't know the final details of the deal and what contract options the team has. The signing is not as strange once put in perspective as it appeared to be in real time.

Possibly the strangest part of the whole process came next, when Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported that the "door was open on Pau [Gasol's] side for a return."

That is certainly unexpected, but it's also unknown how much money it would have taken to keep that door open. Pau is also a much worse defender than Mozgov, and his preference for posting-up rather than playing out of pick-and-rolls would seem to be a poor fit for this young and fast Lakers' roster.

Still, it is interesting to know that Gasol would be open to a return to Los Angeles. That reunion would seem to make a lot less sense now with Mozgov in the fold, but tonight should have taught everyone to expect the unexpected in the Lakers' free agency efforts.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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