We’ve been hearing whispers that Pau Gasol was ready to extend his current contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for a while now, but now there appears to be some confirmation of that move.
HOOPSWORLD is reporting that Gasol is nearing a deal on a three-year extension that would keep him in Los Angeles through the 2013-14 season. The Web site claims the deal will be for the maximum salary allowed under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (likely somewhere between $18.7-19.7 million to start).
The 29-year-old Gasol is one of the most skilled post players in the NBA and has been a perfect compliment to Kobe Bryant since he arrived during the 2007-08 season.
After missing the first 10 games of the season, Gasol has come back on fire for the Lakers. He’s averaging 17.7 points and 12.7 rebounds a game, while mixing in 3.9 assists and shooting 57 percent from the field. He’s also grabbed 20-plus rebounds in three of the last four games.
Clearly, Bryant is happy having Gasol in the fold. Each of their games have improved by playing with the other and Gasol’s temperament is perfectly suited to match Kobe’s. The deal to extend Gasol gives Kobe’s future stability and if there was any question of whether he’d opt out of his contract with the Lakers this coming summer, that now has to be over.
Rumors have persisted that Bryant will wait until the summer to finally extend his contract, but this deal has to ensure that it will happen.