The Mavericks have recently expressed in signing 33 year Pau Gasol. Gasol would be paired in Dallas’ frontline with Dirk, easily giving the Mavs perhaps the most skilled frontline in the NBA. Gasol is 33 year olds and has endured two disappointing seasons in Los Angeles without Kobe’s help. Despite the Lakers’ recent struggles, Pau has vowed to stay in LA if Kobe wants him to. But aside from loyalty, Pau has little reason to sign up for any more time in LA. The Lakers own the 7th pick in this year’s draft, as well as some cap space–some of which would have to be used on Pau–but that is not enough to turn the Lakers into a playoff team. The Lakers won only 27 games last year, and even the biggest Kobe-diehards have to realize that his return to the court will mean little as a 35 year old. Of course, Los Angeles is one of the premier destinations in the league. The Lakers are probably the most storied franchise in the league and the weather is always a plus, but if Gasol wants to add one more ring to his collection, Los Angeles is not the place to stay.
The Mavericks have remade its roster each of the past few seasons. Mark Cuban has managed the roster like a video game, signing players to one year deals and trying to stave off rebuilding until Dirk retires. Gasol would be an intriguing addition to the Mavericks, who are surprisingly close to contention in the West. Simply making the playoffs in the West is the mark of a good team. And the Mavericks were one game away from eliminating the champion Spurs. No other team in this year’s playoffs came as close. Dirk is 36, but don’t let his age fool you. He’s still one of the best players in the game. The Mavs have surrounded him with solid players, the same type of nucleus they had on their 2011 title team. Previously, the Mavs were rumored to be after with Tyson Chandler, getting back the anchor of the 2011 team’s defense. Apparently now, they have their sights set on Gasol, another aging super-skilled big man from Europe. They lose plenty of pieces from this past year’s team: Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Devin Harris, Dejuan Blair, and Dirk (who will definitely be back). If Dirk takes significant pay cut, as expected, since he made over $22 million this past year, then the Mavs will plenty of cap space to keep a well-rounded roster. Most of the league may have forgotten about Gasol because of LA’s recent irrelevance, but he still averaged 17 and 10 last season. Notwithstanding his partially inflated stats due to Mike D’Antoni’s frenetic offense, Gasol is still a good player capable of being one of the better centers in the league.
If Gasol signs with Dallas, it probably won’t send ripples throughout the league. Most fans will dismiss the move and assume the Mavs will still be a team fighting for the last playoff spot or two in the West. That may easily be case. But keep in mind, in the East, Gasol could still be an All-Star. He’s one of the most talented big men the league has to offer. Dirk and Pau wouldn’t be bruising like Z-Bo and Marc Gasol, but the Mavs’ tandem would be frightening for opposing teams to cover. The signing has yet to be made, and the Mavericks will probably be linked to many other big name free agents this summer, but if Pau joins Dirk in Dallas, the Mavericks will be even more dangerous than last year.