Veteran center Pau Gasol recently declined the player option in his contract with the San Antonio Spurs but is hopeful that he can strike a new deal with the franchise anytime soon. The 37-year-old Gasol told Jeff Garcia of News 4 SA that his body can still take the grueling grind of an 82-game season and he’s hoping that he can do it with the Spurs.

Gasol is currently a 16-year veteran but he hopes to add some more years to his NBA career. Also, Gasol said he wants to remain with the Spurs, being one of the top contenders in the Western Conference.

The Spanish center noted that all the teams in the Western Conference are beefing up for next season as they try to beat a top team like the Spurs.

Gasol left $16.2 million on the table when he opted out of his deal with the Spurs to become a free agent but he’s hoping to sign a long-term deal with San Antonio that will give him financial stability. A six-time All-Star, Gasol averaged 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game but struggled in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, averaging just 9.5 points per game.

Spurs also want to keep Simmons

The Spurs, for their part, have still cap room to sign Gasol to a long-term deal but they are also working to keep backup forward Jonathon Simmons.

According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the Spurs are willing to offer a $9 million a year salary to the 27-year-old Simmons, who is also being pursued by the New York Knicks. Simmons averaged just 6.2 points and 2.1 rebounds in 78 regular-season games but stepped up in the playoffs, averaging 10-5 points in 15 postseason games.

Simmons scored in double-digits in each of the Spurs’ last seven playoff games, dropping 22 against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.

With some of their starters in their early or late 30s, the Spurs need Simmons to provide a spark off the bench and offensive punch to back up their superstar Kawhi Leonard.

Spurs still waiting for Manu Ginobili’s decision

Earlier, Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona was overheard saying to former Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko that Manu Ginobili plans to play for two more years with the Spurs.

However, the Spurs are still waiting for Ginobili’s official decision on his career. Last season, Ginobili averaged a career-low 7.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in just 18.7 minutes of action. However, he stepped up in the playoffs, scoring in double figures three times in the Western Conference Finals.