Spurs coach Gregg Popovich admits not playing ‘was really difficult’ for Pau Gasol
The San Antonio Spurs are in a heated battle for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Right now, every win counts. So on Friday, they made the tough decision of letting veteran Pau Gasol go, reaching a contract buyout with the center.
Gasol had been frustrated by a lack of playing time, and ultimately this move is probably best for all parties involved. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spoke to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News on Saturday about the tough decision.
Pop called Pau Gasol a great teammate and a really classy guy: "Not playing was really difficult for him, but he was very helpful for everybody on a consistent basis. He was wonderful." #Spurs
— Tom Orsborn (@tom_orsborn) March 2, 2019
After being a regular starter for the majority of his career, Pau Gasol started only six of the 27 games he appeared in for the Spurs this season. He averaged a career low 12.2 minutes per game, with his production also seeing a dramatic decrease at 4.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists.
However, the break-up was amicable. Gasol reportedly gave back $2.5 million of his salary to help keep the Spurs under the salary cap. Now, he is reportedly planning to sign with the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks.
At 34-29, Gregg Popovich and the Spurs are hanging onto the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, the Sacramento Kings (31-31), Los Angeles Lakers (30-32) and Minnesota Timberwolves (29-33) still pose a serious threat.
The Bucks, on the other hand, are 48-14 and have already clinched a playoff spot. They hold the NBA’s best record.