San Antonio Drew Gooden arrived at his sixth team in seven years Thursday with the hope that he finally found a permanent home.
The future can wait. The San Antonio Spurs got Gooden to win now. Finally getting the additional big man San Antonio had long been seeking, the Spurs signed Gooden, a Kansas University product, for the remainder of the season after the 6-foot-10 power forward bought out his contract in Sacramento earlier this week.
Gooden bolsters the frontcourt depth San Antonio has sought despite holding the second-best record in the Western Conference most of the year. He has played just two games since Jan. 19 because of injuries, and Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Gooden had not yet undergone a physical.
Gooden, however, sounded confident in his health. He did not know whether he would play in San Antonio’s next game tonight against Washington.
“I might have to get a practice in, to go over what we’re going to run offensively and defensively, but other than that I’m ready to play,” said Gooden, who has been hobbled by groin and lower abdominal strains.
Gooden has averaged 13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds this season in 32 games, all but one of which came in Chicago. The Bulls traded Gooden to the Kings in a six-player deal last month, but Gooden played only one game with Sacramento on Feb. 25.
The Spurs had about $1.5 million remaining in their midlevel exception to offer Gooden. Sacramento agreed to an undisclosed buyout of Gooden’s $7.1 million salary in the final season of his contract.
Since being drafted by Memphis as the No. 4 pick out of Kansas, Gooden also has played for the Grizzlies, Orlando, Cleveland and Sacramento. His longest stint was with the Cavaliers, where he played about 31⁄2 seasons before being sent to the Bulls last year.
“I’m ready to find a home,” Gooden said. “I think I’ve been a casualty of the business now of basketball. It’s seems like almost the game has turned into fantasy basketball, but reality.”
The Spurs had been shopping for another big man for their playoff run. San Antonio has been particularly undersized when stacked against the Los Angeles Lakers, the front-runners in the West all season.