SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs signed Pau Gasol, beefing up a front line that will be without Tim Duncan next season for the first time in 19 years. They brought back guard Manu Ginobili, too.
The 7-foot Gasol has won two NBA titles and is a six-time All-Star. Gasol is one of six players in NBA history to reach 19,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocks, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett and Duncan, who retired earlier this week.
The Spurs did not release terms Thursday, but a person with knowledge of the situation previously told the AP that he has a two-year deal worth more than $30 million.
The 36-year-old Gasol has been one of the league’s most talented and versatile big men for the last 15 years. He spent the last two seasons in Chicago and averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists this year, his game showing few signs of aging. An unselfish player, he should fit right in with Gregg Popovich’s ball-moving system, and the Spurs’ reputation for resting players for the playoffs had to be appealing to Gasol.
Ginobili, a four-time champion with the Spurs, will return for his 15th season. He has averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.37 steals in 923 games.
There were a number of suitors lining up for Gasol, including Portland, Minnesota and Toronto. The Timberwolves offered him a two-year deal worth $36 million to open negotiations, but Gasol wanted to play for a team that was ready to contend for a championship and he joins a Spurs frontcourt that features LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard.
Over 1,055 career NBA games, Gasol has averaged 18.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.68 blocks while shooting .510 from the floor and .755 from the free throw line in 35.3 minutes. He has appeared in 115 career playoff games, averaging 16.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 38 minutes. He has also helped Spain win silver medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
The 2002 Rookie of the Year was drafted with the third overall pick in 2001 and immediately dealt by Atlanta to Memphis, where he spent his first six-plus seasons. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers and won championships there in 2009 and 2010. He signed with the Bulls in 2014.
Also Thursday, the Spurs signed:
– Dejounte Murray, their top draft pick this year. The 6-foot-5 guard out of Washington was the 29th overall pick after averaging 16.1 points and 4.5 assists in his lone season with the Huskies. Murray is averaging 11.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 24.8 minutes through five games in the Summer League.
– 7-foot center Dewayne Dedmon, 26, who averaged 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 12.2 minutes during 58 games with Orlando last season.
– 6-foot-10 forward Davis Bertans, 23, who played the last two seasons with Laboral Kutxa in the Spanish league after three seasons in the Serbian league. Bertans has been part of the Latvian national team since 2011.
– Ryan Arcidiacono, the 6-foot-3 guard who helped lead Villanova to the NCAA title last season and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2016 NCAA Final Four after scoring 16 points and setting up the game-winning three-pointer in the championship game.
– Bryn Forbes, another 6-foot-3 guard who averaged 14.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 28 minutes as a senior for Michigan State last season.
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