Pau Gasol gave back $2.5 million buyout to help lower Spurs’ salary cap hit for next season
Even when the Spurs lose, they manage to win. At 38 years old, Pau Gasol hadn’t been contributing much for San Antonio, he had received DNPs in five of the team’s last seven games and had only played more than 20 minutes in one game since the beginning of November.
Gasol and the Spurs—who are fighting for the eighth seed in the West—agreed to a buyout this week so that the Spanish veteran could join the Bucks, who sit in first place in the East. However, Gasol had another year on his contract with the Spurs, but to help mediate the dead cap space, Shams Charania of the Athletic reports that Gasol agreed to return $2.5 million of his salary.
Sources: Pau Gasol gave back $2.5M in his contract buyout with the Spurs to join Milwaukee, lowering San Antonio’s salary cap hit for this season and 2019-20.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 2, 2019
In the 27 games he’s played this season, Gasol has averaged 4.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists, .2 steals and .5 blocks a game, which are all career-lows across the board. Last time out against the Detroit Pistons, the Spurs started Jokob Poeltl. The 23-year-old Austrian center came to San Antonio alongside DeMar DeRozan in the trade that sent Kawhi Lenoard to Toronto. Poeltl had 11 points ant 14 rebounds against Andre Drummond in his ninth start of the season.
Gasol hopes to win his third NBA title with Milwaukee, but will likely have to pass through his brother Marc. The younger Gasol was traded to Toronto from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline. The Raptors have lost just once since Marc, 34-years-old, joined the roster, and sit 2.5 games back of the Bucks for first place in the East.
Gasol was set to be the Spurs’ third-most expensive player next season, making $16 million, behind LaMarcus Aldridge and DeRozan’s $26 million and $27.7 million respectively. Gasol’s apparent replacement, Poeltl, will make $3.7 million next season, but is in the last year of his contract. Regardless of how much of a difference the $2.5 million Gasol will give back will make, it shows why the Spurs remain a model franchise.