As the NBA season resumes in the Orlando, Florida bubble, the eight teams that are not participating are gearing up for the offseason.
The Golden State Warriors are in a different position than the other seven squads who were not a part of the restart. With Klay Thompson out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, and Stephen Curry appearing in only five games, the Dubs fell to the bottom of the league standings.
But, with the Splash Brothers expected to be ready to go for the 2020-21 season, the expectations will be high for the Warriors. It’s on general manager Bob Myers to round out the roster around Thompson, Curry, and Draymond Green.
One of the assets at Myers’ disposal is the mid-level exception. The economic fallout of the pandemic will impact the NBA salary cap moving forward, so some veterans might be reluctant to sign long-term deals going into a season where the lost revenue will impact player salaries.
The 35-year-old can pass, defend, stretch the floor, and be the anchor the Dubs could desperately use in the middle. Gasol won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and is a three-time NBA All-Star. His mobility isn’t what it used to be, but he uses his intelligence to make up for his declining athleticism.
Gasol’s 98.7 defensive rating is third-best in the NBA of all players who average more than 20 minutes per game. Toronto gives up 7.8 points more per 100 possessions when Gasol is on the bench, per NBA.com. This is something the Warriors desperately need from the center position. With Kevon Looney’s injury history and Marquese Chriss’ lack of experience, Gasol would be the calming force at center.
On the offensive end, Gasol would also be a great fit. He’s averaging 7.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists this season while shooting 40.3% from the 3-point line. Gasol will help the stretch the floor for the Dubs’ scorers and give them space to operate in the paint due to his shooting prowess.
Getting Gasol would be a huge boost to the Warriors’ championship chances next season. Although the Raptors have his bird rights, which means they’ll have to decide whether or not to bring him back for another season.
Some of the other realistic big-men options that could be enticing, include Paul Millsap, Serge Ibaka, and Aaron Baynes.
Is Gasol the ideal candidate for Golden State’s MLE? or is there another player you would like Myers to sign this offseason?