According to ESPN, the Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks had recently met with Pau Gasol in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The Thunder have been reported as being a frontrunner in terms of acquiring Pau Gasol, but much hinges on the future decisions of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James.
"Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks met with coveted free agent Pau Gasol in southern California on Monday, multiple league sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com, but the team quietly considers it a 'long shot' to acquire him."
One of the mitigating factors in the Thunder's pursuit of the All-Star big man apparently is the cultural shift from L.A. to OKC:
League sources said, "During Gasol's meeting with Brooks, the 13 year veteran peppered Brooks with questions about the quality of life in Oklahoma City and wondered aloud about leaving a culturally diverse city like Los Angeles for middle America."
It had been weeks now since the Thunder started recruiting Pau Gasol, along with the Lakers and the Knicks. Based on reports, it appears that what is most likely to happen is that Gasol's fate will be determined by Carmelo Anthony's decision. Anthony is being pursued by the Lakers and Bulls.
If Anthony stays in NY, Gasol might very well leave L.A. to pursue a championship elsewhere. If Anthony goes to L.A., Gasol will likely stay and play for a championship there with Anthony and Kobe Bryant. The Heat had also jumped on the track trying to sign Gasol, but the likelihood of that happening is very poor as the Miami Heat had already signed Josh McRoberts, and their style of play is not suitable for Gasol, who does not have the ability to play the kind of trapping defense that Miami thrives in.
Gasol appears to want to stay in L.A., but the Lakers' ability to compete for a championship in the loaded Western Conference is not great, as the Spurs, Thunder, Rockets, Trail Blazers, and Warriors are all looking to compete for a championship with better teams. Gasol may be faced with a similar situation as Chris Bosh, who was recently offered a max contract to join the Rockets. Does he take more money in the West but lose a virtual guarantee to play in the Finals the next few seasons? Or does he stay in Miami, take a pay cut, and likely never get another big contract?
So we wait.