Pau Gasol’s bonus if he’s traded is smaller than it appears

Big man Pau Gasol shoots over Nets forward Andray Batche in a Lakers' 95-90 win over Brooklyn.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

With Pau Gasol’s recent struggles, it’s natural to wonder whether the Lakers will trade him. The safer bet has them waiting to see how Gasol and the team perform once Steve Nash’s leg is healthy.

If the Lakers do look to make a move before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, they would need to consider the trade bonus Gasol would be entitled to under his contract.

The straight math suggests that Gasol, who is under contract through 2013-14 for $38.3 million, would get a bonus of 15% of that amount, or $5.7 million, but the complicated rules of the league’s collective bargaining agreement say otherwise.


If a player’s trade kicker would put him over the maximum salary, a different formula comes into play. In Gasol’s case, his $19 million for the current season is just $136,000 short of the league maximum for a player with at least 10 years of experience, triggering the alternative computation.

But a provision in the collective bargaining agreement complicates matters even further.

The maximum for Gasol is actually 105% of his 2011-12 salary, which was $18.7 million. According to salary cap expert Larry Coon, the most Gasol can receive in bonus, per year, is the difference between what he currently makes, $19 million, and 105% of last year’s $18.7 million, or $19.6 million, even though that exceeds the 10-year maximum.

All that makes Gasol’s available bonus about $650,000. Since Gasol has two years in total left on his contract, his total potential bonus would be double that figure, or $1.3 million.

So instead of the 15% bonus written in his contract, Gasol is eligible for a bonus of only 3.4% should the Lakers trade him by the deadline.


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