Free-agent center Pau Gasol had a telephone conversation with Miami Heat president Pat Riley on Tuesday and could talk again with the franchise in the near future, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The cost for Gasol could still be prohibitive for the Heat, but there's little doubt he could be an intriguing part to a supporting cast in Miami. So far, Gasol is still pushing for a $10 million-$12 million annual salary, league sources said.
The NBA champion San Antonio Spurs have inquired with Gasol's agent Arn Tellem, expressing an interest, sources said, but the Spurs can't become a legitimate suitor unless Gasol significantly drops his asking price.
At $12 million, that would basically be their entire cap space and maybe even more than what they'll have available depending on how much Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are willing to take. Gasol would have to take maybe as close as half of his asking price for a shot at a title.
Is it a good fit? If he starts, he has to play center, getting banged around and being relied on as a rim protector, which isn't great for him at this point in his career. If he's backup power forward, he gets a little more offensive freedom and can play to his strengths better. In the Heat's small-ball system, his improved three-pointer would be useful, and they could use his rebounding.
For San Antonio, the fit is obvious, and would pave the way for Boris Diaw's departure in free agency. The Spurs' style definitely fits Gasol's preferences, with heavy post touches and lots of ball movement.
$12 million is pretty high for him. If the Lakers were to bring back Gasol at that figure, even for two years, it would limit what they could do quite a bit, while also potentially stunting Julius Randle's development. But the market is strong for Gasol. The Bulls are one of a number of other teams that have been reportedly linked to Gasol.