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Report: Pau Gasol declining player option with Spurs, which could open door for Chris Paul

Between LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George and the upcoming NBA draft, the NBA is in a state of flux with major changes looming.

Pau Gasol said in January he’d opt in with the Spurs.

And why not? He seemed happy in San Antonio, and his $16,197,500 salary would likely be more than the soon-to-be 37-year-old would get elsewhere.

But Gasol has apparently had a change of heart – one that could help the Spurs land Chris Paul.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Clearing max cap space for Paul always necessitated dumping two of San Antonio’s highest-paid players: Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Danny Green, Tony Parker and Gasol.

Getting Gasol off the books (then re-signing him with the room exception) is one hurdle crossed. Which other player could the Spurs drop if Paul commits?

The ruthless answer is simple: Tony Parker, who’s injured and an exorbitance with Paul at point guard. But Parker has meant so much to the franchise and wants to stay. It’s hard to see San Antonio trading him.

The Spurs could deal Aldridge for a lower-paid, slightly worse player. They could take the sentimental route and trade Green, who would be far more helpful with Paul than Parker would. Or maybe they somehow convince Paul to take less than his max (which would already be lower than the max he could get with the Clippers).

It’s still tricky to land Paul, but Gasol opting out at least gets San Antonio closer.