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“Pau has immolated himself in the Spurs”

In the summer of 2016, Pau Gasol bet everything on the Spurs. After two very satisfying years in Chicago where he revalued as a player (he started in the ‘All Star Game’ of New York 2015) after a sad end of cycle in Los Angeles, decided to try in San Antonio, the city where he had always dreamed of playing to the orders of Popovich, in the franchise that he considered the best basketball team in the world to enjoy a concept of the altruistic, generous and supportive game that fitted him as a tailor-made suit. He tried, above all, to be happy on the court and to hurry up his last options to fight for the ring. He had only two titles. I wanted more. He was also the first fan of the Spurs, something that also happens to his brother Marc.

Two years later, on the doorstep of the playoffs, Pau has not been too close to the title and his figure has been devalued, swallowed up by the giant machinery of the Spurs, (the team with capital letters where the star is Kawhi Leonard and the collective), eroded by the decisions and a very particular management of the staff that nobody dares to question in the case of Popovich guru. All that philosophy that he loved and that he had fallen in love with was revealed in the less bearable day to day of what it seemed in the beginning. It happens in many relationships.

“Pau has just signed the worst statistics of his career in his seventeenth NBA season”

Of course Pau did not sign up to be Tim Duncan’s replacement, not even to lead a team where Kawhi and Aldridge should be the banners. That time has passed. To aspire to have the role of Parker or Manu, legends in San Antonio, was also a chimera. I knew it. But, after the first year of adaptation to the singular Popovich universe, I did not expect the balsamic vinegar of Texas not to play occasionally in the last quarters, as it has happened, nor to be the reserve nor the oscillation of alternating minutes with games in which he counted. It must be shocking at this point in his career not to know what to expect. And in a vision of the much wider play, he did not sign for the Spurs to play the Warriors or the Rockets. He signed up to play like the Spurs.

Pau, who signed a great contract (a strong argument at the time of deciding, but not the main one), accepted to enter that egos crusher that is San Antonio until you become one of the children of Pops. He has not had a place in the nursery at the moment. At times it has been carrying better or worse that so crude to be one more. There were decisions that he never understood, but, friend of the politically correct, he never rebelled. He was flogged by bad luck, by so much injury in the locker room, but at the end of the course, at the time of taking stock, the Spurs have been a step back in his career.

He has just averaged the worst numbers in his seventeenth season with the professionals, barely 10 points. He never played less, 23 minutes. And statistics probably does not care much for the last Pau, but it must break his winning heart the inner feeling that he could have done much more. No, Pau is far from finished.

The most critical will be able to wield just that, that Pau, who turns 38 in July, is no longer for great adventures, although that perception, for a man who has devoted his final years of preparation to endure, creaks with his performances with the national team. each summer. The most fanatic will always ask to see a ‘remake’ of the film in purple and gold in which he was the main character with a certain Kobe. I simply believe that it was directly immolated. He thought he was coming to the promised land and he realized that it was not that bad. Knowing what Pau is like, knowing the dimensions of the dream he was pursuing, the trip smells of frustration.

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