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Report: Pau Gasol’s options in free agency would include Bulls, Cavaliers, Bobcats, Grizzlies

Apr 6, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Pau Gasol has had a few rough seasons in Los Angeles, with the current one being by far the toughest of all.

Not only has Gasol endured being a part of one of the worst Lakers teams in the history of the storied franchise, but injuries and clashes with his head coach have limited his productivity for a second straight season.

Gasol will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and while his bond with Kobe Bryant is strong, the way he’s been treated by the franchise would lead you to believe that he’d happily seek a higher-dollar deal elsewhere as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Despite the drop-off in production recently, Gasol will have suitors — many of them, if the latest report is to be believed.

From Chris Mannix of SI.com:

Gasol, though, will have options. A poll of NBA executives on Gasol’s future returned many of the same answers: Chicago. Cleveland. Charlotte, if the Bobcats believe a Gasol-Al Jefferson front line can stop anybody. Memphis, if Zach Randolph opts out. Even after a disappointing season — and with the understanding that Gasol has never been a strap-a-team-on-his-back kind of player — Gasol will be among the most sought after free agents on the market.

“There are a couple thoughts out there on Pau,” says an Eastern Conference executive. “Some people say he is worn out, that he is too far past his prime to really help a contender. There are others that think that LA, that environment the past two season, that style of play has destroyed him and if he goes somewhere else, plays with a different coach, he might be rejuvenated. I could see someone who thinks the latter paying him $10 million a year.” …

“I want to be in a team that is going to be built to win a championship,” Gasol said. “That’s my top priority. Money won’t be the main priority. Length and money are factors, but we’ll see. Until I know all the options, I won’t be able to measure them. But we’re getting close to the end of my career. I want to be in a good situation. It’s an important decision to make.”

We’ll see what happens when the time comes for Gasol to make his decision. But if money really isn’t the priority, then that would seem to eliminate Cleveland, Charlotte and Memphis from the equation. Chicago is interesting, but they already have Carlos Boozer, which would seem to be an unnecessary duplication.

I’m of the belief that Gasol will revert to being a borderline All-Star the moment he leaves the Lakers and plays for a team that properly utilizes his skill set, but it’s unclear just where that will take place. The teams mentioned in this report are the obvious ones that would be looking to upgrade and would have the cap space to do so.

There will undoubtedly be many others, however, who will be in the mix for Gasol’s services.

  1. lbroberts123 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    He should go to Memphis and play alongside his brother. That tandem has worked well for Spain.

    • lj312chicago - Apr 6, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      There is a reason no Bulls fans or Chicago Bulls reporters…..are discussing Pau to Chicago….because financially and rotation wise it makes absolutely no sense…..

  2. ocgunslinger - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    Pau was a great addition to the Lakers and without him they would not have won those championships. He brought a lot to the game and really does not fit in the future plans so I wish him well finishing up his career elsewhere. I really believe if PJ was rehired there would be a different ending here.

    • therealhtj - Apr 6, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      Pau’s last run with PJ didn’t end so great.

      • smoothaswilkes - Apr 6, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        @therealhtj Everyone’s last run with PJ didn’t end so well. Besides, you should realize that Pau has put up the same consistently good numbers every season, except for last season. This season is a closer to his first 3 seasons, and that’s despite MDA.

        The Knicks would be a great landing placing for Pau, if they can afford him. He’d greatly decrease the learning curve for the triangle, which is what the Knicks will go to, or some hybrid, next season. And he’d make it much easier for Melo to take the role of the Kobe/MJ in that offense.

        It’s also why PJ was talking to Odom the other night.

      • therealhtj - Apr 6, 2014 at 5:43 PM

        If crackheads and retreads are all PJ can bring the Knicks, they should ask for a refund.

  3. thekingdave - Apr 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Idk about this. I think I liked the post better when you guys ran with it yesterday morning.

  4. therealhtj - Apr 6, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    The Pau Gasol people seem to fondly recall from the Lakers of the 2010 Championship run hasn’t really been seen nor heard from since. To say he’s been a shell of himself since then is an insult to shells everywhere. Sure he’s still capable of putting up some hollow numbers on a lottery team, but borderline all-star is a reach at best.

    If he’s serious about winning being a priority, no team with any real cap space qualifies besides Chicago. Why would you amnesty Boozer to get the same sort of production from Gasol? Why would you commit long term money to a guy who hasn’t shown any real heart for 3+ seasons and is obviously coming up on the end of his career? And knowing Chicago, why get rid of Boozer, still pay him, only to make a lateral move with Gasol whose team defense is just as bad if not worse than Boozers?

    The Memphis move could make sense, but only if Z-Bo opts out – but that’s just a borderline playoff team again, no real contender. Charlotte/Cleveland would just be obvious last ditch money grabs for Pau, and if they give him more than 2 guaranteed years at around 8mil per, they’ll definitely regret it. In today’s CBA it would be ridiculous to pay him any more.

    My wish for Pau is he gets to finish out his career in Spain as a National Hero.

    • smoothaswilkes - Apr 6, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      Stick to your bandwagon team. Clearly, you have no clue about what Gasol can still bring to the right team.

      Comparing Gasol’s value to Boozer is ridiculous. They don’t play the same position. Gasol is a point center and could organize the offense in Chicago in ways that Boozer couldn’t dream of doing.

      Gasol can still play defense but his lateral movement has waned because of injuries, not diminished skills.

      Throw in a change of situation, and Gasol will be renewed. If he played next to Noah or Duncan or his brother, forget about it. All three of those guys can cover whatever issues he may or may not have on defense.

      Pau is still worth 10 million per but I could see him going for less money to the right situation. At this point in his career though, it’s not about the money. That’s why his best landing spots are with the pairings I mentioned above.

      • therealhtj - Apr 6, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        A change of scenery would be great for him, sure. The Lakers have done everything they could to give it to him. Problem was his last monster extension was way out of whack for his production and the new CBA, and they couldn’t find a taker, even at pennies on the dollar.

        The problem is now, it’s likely too late. His physical tools are diminishing, and his desire really hasn’t been there for some time now.

        And last I check he and Boozer both play the 4 and put up similar numbers. Boozer may lack Pau’s skills in certain areas, but he’s also not easily pushed out his comfort zone by physical play. Not to mention Chicago’s cheap management isn’t going to pay someone to stay home while paying someone to play the same position. As for “point center”, Chicago has a pretty good one in Noah and Gasol’s shown he can’t really play with someone else down low.

        And with free agency, it’s always about the money. Don’t kid yourself.

      • smoothaswilkes - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:17 AM

        @therealhtj Gasol plays the 5. D’Antoni wanted him to be a strech 4 and that’s why they’ve clashed philosophically. This season Gasol is back at 5, hence the return of his career numbers.

        That right there makes whatever you were or are going to say moot. Just leave it alone and, seriously, go back to the bandwagon.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 6, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      An even better Pau was seen and heard from in the 2012 Olympics.

      • therealhtj - Apr 6, 2014 at 5:19 PM

        Sure when the game’s far less physical, he can still thrive. That’s why he should finish up where he started.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 6, 2014 at 5:30 PM

        It wasn’t that. The Spanish team knows how to use him. In LA he’s just been wasting away under the visionless obstinacy of Mike D’Antoni.

      • therealhtj - Apr 6, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        That tank’s running on fumes now. Paying him now for past performance would be almost as bad as what the Lakers gave Kobe.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 6, 2014 at 5:55 PM

        No, you’ve only been deceived by the idiocy of D’Antoni. Don’t let him corrupt your mind like he’s corrupted the Lakers.

  5. 00maltliquor - Apr 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    The Cavs???????
    “I want to be in a team that’s going to be built to win a championship”
    The Cavs!!!!????

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 6, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Didn’t you see that movie with Tom Berrenger and Charlie Sheen? Cleveland teams CAN win a championship. Whadya mean, “no”?

  6. sportsfan18 - Apr 6, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Long time Bulls fan here, used to watch The A Train Artis Gilmore play center for the Bulls at the old stadium in the 70’s.

    I’ve always liked Pau’s game and he still has a few good yrs left I think.

    However, Pau and Noah play in the same area on the floor and that didn’t work out too well with Pau in L.A.

    The Bulls need to wait one more year and get Kevin Love. Love shoots the the three point shot at a higher percentage than Carmelo Anthony has for their careers.

    In other words, Love can play outside while Noah is inside.

    Pau is in his 30’s already. Melo will be 30 next season. Love will only be 26 next season.

    We all know the Bulls need scoring too.

    Let’s compare Melo and Love in this respect then. The past 2 full seasons for Love (this season and 2 yrs ago as he missed basically all last yr with a broken hand), he has averaged 26 points a game both seasons.

    To get those 26 points a game, he has taken 19 and then 18 shots a game.

    Melo has averaged 28 pts a game both seasons and taken 22 and 21 shots a game to get those points.

    Love also has a higher career free throw percentage than Melo does too.

    Oh, Love (while being slow, not able to jump and only 6′ 10″) averages 13.5 rebounds a game in his career. Dwight “super athletic freak” Howard averages 12.9 rebounds a game. Shaq, huge, unmovable 7′ 1″ and 335 lbs give or take a small child only averaged 10.9 rebounds a game in his career.

    All things considered, the Bulls should take Love before they take either the turning 34 yr old Pau at the beginning of next season or the turning 30 yr old Melo at the beginning of next season.

    Love’s age of 25 right now fits in nicely with D. Rose who is also 25 yrs old, Noah is 29 yrs old, Jimmy Butler is 24 yrs old and Taj Gibson who is 28 yrs old right now.

  7. 1harrypairatesties - Apr 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    We don’t want Pau Gasol in Chicago.

    • lmoneyfresh - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      I would be fine with Pau but there’s no place for him on that roster. He’s not earning minutes over Taj or Noah plus if they end up bringing Mirotic as planned, then there’s really no minutes for him. Sure I’d take him as a backup C but he’s not taking that type of role or money.

  8. scbaby2013 - Apr 6, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Chicago won’t go anywhere with Miami and Indiana doing well. Gasol should join San Antonio even though I hate the spurs I can see him play well with Duncan

  9. davidly - Apr 6, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    I’m gonna go with synesthesia-like intuition and predict Gasol playing for the Suns.

  10. campcouch - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    Shrug.

  11. dinofrank60 - Apr 6, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Gasol’s options should include 29 of the 30 NBA teams. Because the only team seemingly out of play is the Lakers. If the Lakers want him to stay, he’ll make them pay. But he’s on the outs with the staff anyway.

  12. turkbox420 - Apr 7, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    I think Indy could utilize him well. An off the bench role covering for DWest and Hibbert. 20-25 minutes a game.

  13. lj312chicago - Apr 6, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    number 1 over seas prospect drafted in 2011 rights traded to Chicago…I know..there will never be another Dirk or Kevin Love blah blah blah save your comments I didn’t write the scouting report on him……

    This kid would go top 3 if not number 1 overall if he was in the 2014 draft…scouts say he’s the next Dirk/Kevin Love….only difference between him and Kevin Love…..Nikola Mirotic is supposed to play defense…..

  14. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 6, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    What?

  15. therealhtj - Apr 6, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Don’t hold your breath for Mirotic coming for another couple years. Or becoming Dirk or KLove.

    http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Nikola-Mirotic-5134/

  16. lmoneyfresh - Apr 7, 2014 at 11:06 AM

    I’m pretty hyped about Mirotic. If the Bulls can get some hits with their 2 1sts in the draft plus bring over Mirotic, the roster is going to look pretty good next year.

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