According to ESPN.com, the Bulls are exploring the possibility of acquiring the 31-year-old power forward from the Lakers.
In response to the fact that Dwight Howard is not coming to Chicago, the Bulls appear ready to get another big man in Gasol, who could help take the offensive load off Rose’s shoulders.
However, according to that same ESPN report, the Lakers are not impressed with what the Bulls have to offer, so Chicago will probably have to recruit a third team to get involved in the trade.
Gasol clearly has the ability to support a star guard, as he’s shown in Los Angeles. In four and a half seasons with the Lakers, Gasol has appeared in three NBA Finals series and scored over 18 points per game until this season.
He’s also averaged double-digit rebounds in the last three seasons and has shot 78 percent or greater from the free-throw line each season.
The Bulls clearly need help on offense. Rose is required to score at least 20 points a night, which bogs down the offense and makes guys stand and watch rather than move the ball. Carlos Boozer is a good offensive player in the low post, but Gasol is better—both on offense and defense.
Gasol is also much bigger than Boozer, and with Joakim Noah, would provide a bigger frontcourt for the Bulls’ opponents to contend with.
There’s no question that if Gasol were sent to the Bulls, he’d be the No. 2 option. However, Gasol has been accused of being soft and weak in certain spots during his career.
That is not something that jives well with the Bulls’ tough defensive philosophy.
That being said, the upside to Gasol’s addition to the Bulls greatly outweighs the downside. The Spanish big man is more versatile and skilled than any big man the Bulls have, and he will have an effect on the other post men.
Just look at Andrew Bynum. It wasn’t until Gasol arrived in L.A. that Bynum really started improving, especially offensively. Gasol can make the Bulls’ whole team better offensively with his scoring and passing, while not hurting the team defensively.
Gasol is also humble enough to take on that No. 2 role. In Los Angeles, he fit into their offense seamlessly and worked well with Kobe Bryant. If a player can fit in that well with Bryant, he can work with any superstar player on any team.
The Bulls should make this trade because Gasol could be the No. 2 guy to Rose immediately. He’s an instant improvement over Boozer and makes the offense much more balanced and versatile. Gasol is also the type of guy who will buy into the team defense philosophy that is so important in Chicago.