(Reuters) - Two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol is leaving the San Antonio Spurs to join the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks, ESPN reported on Friday, a move that will add veteran experience to a young team trying to win the franchise their first title since 1971.
The 38-year-old Spaniard has struggled this season, missing 26 games with a stress fracture in his foot and seeing his on-court production dip to the lowest averages in his 18-year career.
But the Bucks may be less interested in what Gasol can do on the floor and more interested in the six-time All Star’s ability to serve as a leader in the locker room on a team led by 24-year-old MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Today, I bid farewell to (the Spurs),” Gasol said on Twitter.
“It’s been a dream to play for 1 of most storied franchises in (NBA) history, an honor to be part of Spurs family... thank you for making this place so special.”
Gasol was guaranteed $6.7 million of his $16 million salary in 2019-20 and is earning $16 million this season, according to ESPN.
The Spurs bought out his contract, paving the way for him to join the Bucks, the network reported.
Pau’s younger brother Marc joined the Eastern Conference’s Toronto Raptors last month in a trade-deadline deal with Memphis Grizzlies. With the Raptors in second place in the conference, the two could potentially face off in the playoffs.
Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Ian Ransom