Free-agent big man Pau Gasol will sit down the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. The Thunder have reportedly become the favorites to land Gasol:
In a surprising twist, OKC has come on strong with Pau Gasol, and described as a "frontrunner" for the Spaniard.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 2, 2014
Gasol has said he wants to join a title contender this offseason, but he's not ruling out a return to Los Angeles. The 33-year-old might sit down with the Lakers in addition to his meetings with the other teams.
After making more than $19 million last season with the Lakers, Gasol will make much less annually on his next contract. While the big man averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds last season, he's getting up there in age and has dealt with injury problems for several years. There also has been some major slippage on the defensive end.
The Thunder, Warriors and Bulls make some sense as potential destinations, as all three teams stand to be in contention next year. Oklahoma City and Golden State will be limited in what they can offer Gasol, because both teams are slated to be over the salary cap. The Thunder could use Gasol as an upgrade in the frontcourt, while the Warriors may view Gasol as a good backup plan in case Kevin Love isn't acquired.
Chicago could have a significant amount of cap space to offer Gasol if they miss out on bigger targets, including Carmelo Anthony. The Bulls have been linked to Gasol in the past, but nothing has ever come to fruition.