The Portland Trail Blazers have gotten their roster to 14 players by signing veteran big man Pau Gasol.
ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on Wednesday that Gasol would be signing a one-year deal with the Blazers worth $2.6 million. Since the team is over the salary cap, Gasol had to agree to play for the minimum amount.
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Back in 2016 in free agency, Portland and Gasol discussed a deal, but now they get him for much cheaper.
For his career, Gasol has averaged 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 blocks per game while also shooting 50.7 percent from the field, 36.8 percent from 3-point range and 75.3 percent from the free-throw line.
The Blazers had to find insurance in the frontcourt with Jusuf Nurkic out rehabbing his fractured leg and Meyers Leonard now with the Miami Heat. They added Hassan Whiteside but needed to have a little more depth down low.
Gasol is 7’0”, 250 pounds and can play both power forward and center. Portland now has a big man rotation of Whiteside, Zach Collins, Gasol and Nurkic
To start the season Gasol will likely play in the second unit at 5 with Collins, Mario Hezonja or Anthony Tolliver at the 4 spot. Once Nurkic comes back, Stotts can slide Gasol over more to the 4 spot where he won’t have to handle such a physical role at age 39.
He will be able to make an impact in the pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop with the talented backcourt the Blazers have. Gasol can also space the floor and knock down 3-pointers to keep the defenses on their heels.
He has a similar skill set to Enes Kanter, who played well on both ends in his short stint in Rip City.
This signing is going to be a benefit to the younger players on this Blazers roster. Especially the big guys. Collins should stay by Gasol’s side all season and soak up all the knowledge he has to give. Same with Skal Labissière and rookie Nassir Little.
Gasol is one of the smartest and most-skilled players to ever play, and there is so much to be learned from him.
Even Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Whiteside can learn from him. Gasol has been to the top of the mountain multiple times and was the sidekick to one of the greatest/ hardest-working players in any sport, Kobe Bryant.
Portland hasn’t had a veteran presence in its locker room since Chris Kaman
This was an A+ signing for the Blazers because of what Gasol brings on the court and off it. Portland is looking to make another deep playoff push and It does not hurt to have a guy who can contribute on the floor and give advice when times get tough.
This is not a flashy move for the Blazers, but just like most of the deals this summer, it was a smart one. Adding Gasol helps the franchise take another step forward in achieving their championship dreams.