At 11:01 AM (Oklahoma time)Tuesday morning NBA Free Agency began for the Oklahoma City Thunder and the other 29 teams in the league. The Thunder will be a player but to what extent remains to be seen.
For instance several names have been connected with the Thunder already. Names like Vince Carter, Mike Mller, CJ Miles and Pau Gasol. Gasol is perhaps the most intriguing because of the two championship rings he's won with the Los Angeles Lakers and the fact that he'd give them some much needed back to basket low post scoring. Also remember that he plays with Thunder forward Serge Ibaka on the Spanish National team that will compete in basketball's World Cup and in the Olympics.
Is it realistic that Oklahoma City lands Gasol? The Los Angeles Times says OKC will get a visit from the Spaniard, along with Chicago and Golden State. He did make $19 million last season in LA and though he won't get that much per year from anyone it's not out of the question some team offers him a 3 year deal for $30-$36 million or maybe even a 4th year that would take him to perhaps $48 million.
At 34 any team must be careful offering a deal to Gasol that takes him to 38 years old unless the team has the option on at least the final year if not final two years of the contract. Maybe only partially guarantee the final two years. There are some things that could be done to protect the team.
From Oklahoma City's standpoint there are interesting questions. Perhaps the best is would they re-consider using the amnesty clause on a player to clear up more salary cap space if it becomes a real possibility that Gasol could be had? Thunder GM Sam Presti made it clear right after the season was over that Kendrick Perkins would be back and the clause that allows a team to release a player and get salary cap relief had not been considered.
Will there be any reason to change that stance? That remains to be seen.