Pau Gasol may be 38 years old and entering his 18th NBA season, but he has no imminent plans to retire. Not as of now anyway. So don’t put your money at legal betting sites on Gasol leaving the league just yet.
“I’m not thinking about retirement yet, although I know that it will happen sooner than later.”
Kudos to Pau. Just this summer, he’s seen Manu Ginobili retire, Kawhi Leonard get traded and Tony Parker sign with the Charlotte Hornets. The San Antonio Spurs’ way of life has never been under more siege than it is now, and while Gasol is only a couple of years into his tenure with the organization, that type of turnover is enough to make you confront your own basketball mortality. That he’s staved off those thoughts is impressive.
Of course, Gasol has another year and $16 million left on his deal after this one ($6.7 million guaranteed). With that much money on the line, he has plenty of reason to avoid contemplating the end of his NBA service. If the Spurs end up waiving his partial guarantee to decongest their books, he might then decide to think about calling it quits.
Or maybe not.
Gasol can still play. He isn’t mobile enough to hang for 30 minutes a night in today’s game, but he retains his playmaking vision and jump-shot appeal. Expanding his range beyond the three-point line will help him survive as long as possible. So, too, will his standstill rim protection. And if he’s going to extend his career anywhere, he’s in the right place. The Spurs feast on dual-big lineups that cater to Gasol’s physical profile. He posted the highest defensive rebounding rate of his career last year, in no small part because he’s able to punt on chasing players out to the perimeter.
At the very least, Gasol looks like he’ll have the juice to play out the life of his current contract, through 2019-20. Beyond that, we just don’t know. He likely doesn’t, either.