The Chicago Bulls badly wants to get some value off Pau Gasol, who might leave for another team in the upcoming 2016 free agency.
The Bulls could lose the Spanish big man for nothing during the summer and a trade before Thursday’s deadline could at least net the team some draft picks or young prospects.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, who is one of the most reliable NBA insiders today, the Bulls are “aggressively shopping” Gasol as of Wednesday, or about 24 hours before the trade deadline, Feb. 18.
Gasol signed a three-year $22.34 million contract with the Bulls in 2014 in a deal that is paying him about $7.5M annually.
However, the final year of his contract (2016-2017) has a “player option” clause in the deal, which means the Spanish center can decide to forego his last year in Chicago and hit free agency in the summer of 2016.
Turning 36 years old in July, Gasol just might do that, as he is looking for perhaps his final big money contract in the NBA.
Wojnarowski did not specify which teams are possible destinations for Gasol but the NBA insider stated that Bulls general manager Gar Forman “seems determined to move him” before Thursday’s trade deadline.
Gasol is averaging 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds for the Bulls this season and made the NBA All-Star team.
Which teams realistically have a shot of landing Gasol in a trade? Are the Bulls desperate enough to sacrifice a deep playoff run this year in exchange for an extra future draft pick or two?
Here is a pair of possible Pau Gasol trades at the deadline, via ESPN’s Trade Machine:
Chicago Bulls – Dallas Mavericks Trade: Pau Gasol ($7.45M) for Zaza Pachulia ($5.2M) and Devin Harris ($4.05M) + 2016 second round pick
Why the Mavs/Bulls should jump on this NBA rumor:
Pachulia has played very well this season but Gasol is still the better player overall. A Gasol-Dirk Nowitzki frontcourt is soft defensively, but on offense it could work in the playoffs when the pace considerably slows down.
For the Bulls, they get a serviceable player in Pachulia and remains in the hunt for a playoff spot in the East. Harris adds depth in the guard rotation and the 2016 second round pick (acquired by Dallas from a previous deal with the Memphis Grizzlies) could be valuable down the line for Chicago.
Chicago Bulls – Charlotte Hornets Trade: Pau Gasol ($7.45M) and Mike Dunleavy ($4.5M) for Al Jefferson ($13.5M) plus future pick/s
Why the Hornets/Bulls should jump on this NBA rumor:
Michael Jordan wants the Hornets to make some noise in the playoffs and acquiring a big man of Gasol’s quality will put the team in serious contention for a homecourt advantage in the first round of the postseason.
For the Bulls, this is purely a move that aims to help their finances. Unloading Dunleavy’s contract (about $10 million left in the next two years) could be crucial as they chase a big name free agent to pair with Jimmy Butler in the upcoming summer and the future picks can also help Chicago’s semi-rebuild mode.
Photo courtesy: Instagram/paugasol