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Sheridan: All in all, Philadelphia as Landing Zone for Pau Gasol makes sense

Apr 14, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16) reacts after being called for a foul against the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter in game one of the first round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Pau Gasol is currently under contract with the San Antonio Spurs. If what I am hearing comes to fruition, that contract will be relocated to Philadelphia and the 7-foot Spaniard will be teaming up with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons next season.

When you are having simultaneous conversations with people all around the world and not a single person is telling you “That is untrue,” you have a smoke/fire situation.

And what I am hearing is that a trade scenario that would send Gasol to the 76ers is very much in play as one of the various Kawhi Leonard deals being pondered by the San Antonio Spurs.

The “Uncle Dennis” factor is making this a peculiar situation, but when a reporter as clued in as Jabari Young of Spurs Nation writes that Leonard would OK an extension with the Sixers, and when folks spending their days in the 120-degree heat of Las Vegas are declining to steer you in a new direction, you have what is known in the business as “good information.”

San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol (16). Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Does that mean Pau Gasol will be playing for the Sixers next season? No.

But as I have reported already, the Miami Heat are very much alive in the Leonard discussions, the Sacramento Kings remain a viable conduit for a three-way deal and although the Spurs would rather keep Gasol than include him in a deal that would rid them of Leonard, they are examining all options — one of which is sending Gasol to Philly in order to bring back the bushel full of assets that the Sixers are more than willing to mix and match.

Pau Gasol is entering the final two seasons of a three-year, $48 million contract that he signed with San Antonio, and his financial deal (partial guarantee in 2019-20) and his non-expiring institutional wisdom are piquing the interest of Brett Brown, who didn’t sign up for the job of General Manager of the 76ers but finds himself filling that role while Josh Harris counts his money and Michael Rubin hangs with Meek Mill.

Pau was in Girona, Spain recently for an all-Gasol exhibition game featuring the likes of Ricky Rubio and Dillon Brooks. The match was billed Pau vs. Marc, and Jimmy Butler was in the house along with Omri Casspi and what one would imagine would be enormous plates of jamon, which they like to serve in hospitality suites en Espana.

FultzThere are numerous trade proposals in play that would allow Gasol to take a Gulfstream IV directly from wherever he is in mid-September non-stop to the airfields surrounding San Antonio, but none of those trade scenarios would allow the Spurs to acquire the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, Markelle Fultz, along with an unprotected 2021 first-round pick originally belonging to Miami that was acquired by Philadelphia on draft night. From what I am told, it would be one of three first-rounders that Philly would ship out along with a package of players whose names change on a daily basis.

Everyone in the NBA knows that an offer constructed around Dario Saric and Robert Covington has been put forth by the Sixers, and everyone around the NBA expects Gregg Popovich to eventually take care of his former assistant, Brown, despite swiping Marco Belinelli away from him in the first hours of free agency. Whether or not Saric ends up in the deal is an open question.

The Summer of LeBron is not the Summer of LeBron anymore, and the cool kids at ESPN are patting each other on the back for their 20/20 hindsight coverage of a story that was reported elsewhere some 326 days ago.

Phil Hellmuth looks on during a USA practice at Mendenhall Center. Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

What has replaced King James in the public fascination arena is the Summer of Kawhi, which could very well become the Autumn of Kawhi if Pop decides to channel Phil Hellmuth and play by his own set of rules.

If you think Pop is under pressure to get this situation resolved quickly, there is a magnum bottom of Chateau Laffite Rothschild being wagered that says you are wrong. Pop does wine the way Don Nelson does marijuana, and if you disbelieve that statement, there is a poker game in Maui this Friday night involving Willie Nelson and Owen Wilson at which your bluff will be called through a haze of skunk smoke.

The Summer of Jimmy&Kyrie remains 11 1/2 months away, and tea leaf readers will continue to gather clues by what posts are liked on Instagram. Ex-Knicks such as Kyle O’Quinn will be looking to fry bigger fish than prepping for next June’s draft, and the uncertainty surrounding Leonard will continue to impact the championship odds of teams such as the Indiana Pacers, who are finished with their summer renovations.

So as we sit and wait on Pop, ponder the possibilities of Kobe Bryant coming out of retirement and LeBron James Jr. being picked first overall in the 2022 draft, and await the tumult of a World Cup match involving the Brits, we can all ask ourselves a question: When will this madness end?

The answer: Whenever Pop feels like ending it.

And it may have an ending that lands Pau Gasol in The City of Brotherly Love.

Sort of fitting, eh?

Written by Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan is a veteran sports journalist who previously covered the NBA for ESPN. He worked for the Associated Press for 18 years, and also served as the 76ers beat writer for Sheridan is the host of Sports Betting Tips, a podcast covering all things gambling.

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