The Chicago Bulls are a great team built around a great player in Derrick Rose, but it's no secret that they need to add one more great player in order to be a serious contender for a championship or two.
The Bulls have been linked to several great players in the last couple seasons. No doubt you've heard the latest player is Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol.
If you haven't heard the rumor yet, it stems for a couple different sources. Spanish news outlet Marca reported over the weekend that Rose has given his blessing to Chicago's front office to pursue Gasol in a trade and that he has suggested a package based around forward Carlos Boozer and another player. Subsequently, a source told SheridanHoops.com that Rose has indeed made his desire for Gasol known.
You can't help but to entertain the notion of how good the Bulls would be if Boozer was replaced with Gasol. Boozer is not a bad player, but Gasol would be an upgrade. He's a more polished offensive player, and he's a better defender than Boozer, who is not a good defender at all.
We know that the Lakers are open to trading Gasol. In fact, it looked like the team had traded him before the start of the season when it was on the verge of acquiring Chris Paul. That didn't work out, but Gasol's name has continued to pop up in trade rumors ever since. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was pressed by Kobe Bryant to make a call one way or the other, but Kupchak declined to do that (see the Los Angeles Times).
Presumably, Kupchak would listen if the Bulls were to call about Gasol—if they haven't already, of course.
The trouble is that the Bulls are not a good trading partner for the Lakers.
Swapping Boozer for Gasol would be an upgrade for the Bulls, but the other side of that coin is not as positive for the Lakers. Swapping Gasol for Boozer would be a downgrade for them.
Things would have to be evened out by the second player in the trade. Since Kupchak told Lakers.com earlier this month that he would like nothing more than to add a point guard, I'm assuming the other player in the deal would be one who could play the point. The Lakers have a couple options at that position, but no real good ones.
Do the Bulls have any shot at landing Pau Gasol?
The Bulls do have a couple point guards they could part with. C.J. Watson is a guy who could go the other way, and he would be an upgrade for the Lakers. And yes, a Boozer/Watson for Gasol trade does check out if you try it in ESPN's NBA Trade Machine.
However, Rose's ongoing health issues make trading Chicago's top backup point guard a very risky idea. Watson has taken on an increased role this season, and he has performed very well. Take him out of the equation, and things get dicey.
The Bulls could part with other players instead, but there just aren't any good fits for the Lakers if you count out a Boozer/Watson trade. There is no obvious trade to be made between these two teams. Both of them would have to compromise, and in the end, one of them would have to roll the dice.
Adding Gasol is a nice idea for the Bulls. But like all nice ideas, actually making it happen is much, much easier said than done.