LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Spanish center Pau Gasol will join Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo on the Milwaukee Bucks after agreeing to an NBA contract buyout with the San Antonio Spurs, ESPN reported Friday.
The major move for the six-time NBA All-Star big man came just minutes before a league deadline to waive players in time for them to be eligible to participate in the NBA playoffs.
The 38-year-old Spaniard missed 26 games with a stress fracture in his right foot and had played a diminishing role with the Spurs this season, but the 7-footer could be a major player to aid in a title run for the Bucks.
Gasol joins a Milwaukee squad that boasts the NBA’s best record at 47-14, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources.
The Bucks have lost eight consecutive playoff appearances since reaching the 2001 Eastern Conference final, where they lost to Philadelphia.
Milwaukee has not won an NBA title since 1971 when legend Lew Alcindor – who would change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – won the NBA and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards.
But this year’s Bucks have been a wonder squad powered by the ”Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, who is averaging team highs of 27.0 points, 12.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists.
ESPN reported the buyout will guarantee the 7-foot (2.13m) playmaker $6.7 million of his $16 million salary next season.
The six-time NBA All-Star and three time Olympic medalist is making $16 million this season but averaging career lows of 4.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in only 12.2 minutes a game.
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