Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
THE WOOING OF PAU GASOL
“Hey, Pau, this is Melo. Come join the Knicks. Phil and Derek say we need guys to run the Triangle. Your friend, Jose, is here. We got the best hospitals where you can sit in on operations and I’ll stay if we can get you.”
“How much can they offer?”
“Right now, cap space, $ 5 Million.”
“So you are you also getting $5 M?”
“Oh, no, I’m getting $ 26 million but LaLa says Sylvia can come over anytime she wants.”
Carmelo Anthony will go on to pitch how they’re building the Lakers East and load the team up with smartest players in the league and if they can get his brother Marc to join next year they’ll have four starters who can speak Spanish and their opponents will never know what play they’re calling.
So it’s on and on with Pau. During this free agency period, everyone is recruiting him, who most writers call the “smartest player in basketball.” Teams, when romancing Mr. Gasol, are aware of his interest in medicine (both his parents in the field), his penchant for playing several instruments and his friends from his Spanish National team.
The Oklahoma City Thunder sent their two superstars – Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – out to Los Angeles to pitch Gasol. This time they pitch the ring possibilities, how he’ll be missing offensive link, how he’d be able to line up next to Spanish national teammate, Serge Ibaka, and that not only would he would be able to able to scrub in at some new medical facilities, he’ll be able to lead the operations. Also, they might be offering about $ 6 to 10 million.
A team that can offer Pau $ 10 M is the Bulls. “Derrick Rose will be healthy. Come line up next to Noah and you both can be the Adams Apple Twins. We got the cap space. We got coach Thibodeau. Do you like to play defense? Pau… defense? Pau? Come back!”
The Spurs are also making a run at Gasol. “Do you want another ring? We’ve got cap space. We can always use a good passer and we’ve got nothing but foreign players. We win because we don’t let our players off for elections. Why bother when they can’t vote. You get to line up next to Timmy. Plus, Texas has no state income tax.”
Even Pat Riley called Gasol, “We can’t pay you much but if you come here LeBron will stay. Come get another ring. Speak all the Spanish you want. You’ll be surrounded. I hated how the Lakers treated you. We can dish about that if you need a shoulder to cry on. Did the Spurs say they’ve got no state income tax? Us to, plus you were adjusted to living by the beach and we’ve got beaches.”
“Hey, have you considered the Mavs?” asks Mark Cuban. “Dirk cut his price because he wants you to play with us. Yes, we dealt Jose. You upset about that? I said Dirk wants you finish your career with him. I’ll even put you on Shark Tank.”
The question is who can get him $ 10 M and a good chance at a ring. For a guy who never went through free agency before and was never recruited to play in college, this has to be a heady experience.