Gasol had only appeared in two of San Antonio’s last seven games. His minutes have dropped off drastically this season, despite having a contract that runs until the end of next season. Shams Charania reported that Gasol handed back over $2 million to minimise the cap hit for the Spurs next season.
Gasol is one of four players with over 20,000 points, 11,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists and 1,500 blocks in his career, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. His numbers have dropped off a lot as he’s aged, which is unsurprising, but Gasol is one of the best bigs in his generation.
Six All-Star appearances and two NBA championships are the highlights in an impressive career. At his best, he was a high-teens scorer and good passer, contributing to his career average of 3.2 assists per game.
His mobility is limited, as we might expect from a 38-year-old seven-footer. Gasol can still shoot from the perimeter, though, making him an ideal fit in Mike Budenholzer’s system. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been unstoppable this year, and a big part of that has been having guys to stretch the floor.
Gasol will only be playing 10 or 12 minutes off the bench behind Brook Lopez. He’s not going to transform their playoff run, but reliability off the bench is crucial come playoff time. Budenholzer knows what he’ll get from Gasol and having a guy like him with Championship pedigree to call on should Lopez get in foul trouble is significant.
Milwaukee have done a brilliant job filling out their roster this season. Ersan Ilyasova was an excellent addition last summer, as were George Hill and Nikola Mirotic in midseason trades. Their starting five lacks experience. Acquiring veterans who fit the system could be the difference between a great regular season and making the NBA Finals.
Expect pick and pop and okay defence from Gasol in Milwaukee. A veteran on the buyout market can’t really be a bad deal at this stage. It’s the latest in a string of very smart moves from the Bucks.