NBA Rumors: 7 Teams That Are Better Fit for Pau Gasol Than Chicago Bulls

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterJune 4, 2012

NBA Rumors: 7 Teams That Are Better Fit for Pau Gasol Than Chicago Bulls

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    Rumors have swirled recently that Los Angeles Lakers star forward Pau Gasol would like to leave LA, preferably to go play for the Chicago Bulls.

    This makes sense in a lot of ways, as LA has bowed out of the playoffs early the past few years and Chicago is one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

    This deal, however, has it's problems as both teams are over the salary cap and would have to match up Gasol's $19 million yearly salary with players on the Bulls.

    This is where the problem resides.

    Chicago's closest salary is Carlos Boozer at $15 million a year, and with Boozer being an amnesty candidate due to his underachieving play in recent years, LA definitely would want a lot more in return.

    So while Chicago remains a possibility, there are seven teams in the NBA that I believe would represent not only a better fit for Gasol, but could also work out a reasonable trade for both sides.

7. Philadelphia 76ers

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    Potential Deal: Pau Gasol to 76ers for Andre Iguodala

    New Starting Five:

    PG—Jrue Holiday

    SG—Evan Turner

    SF—Thaddeus Young

    PF—Elton Brand

    C—Pau Gasol

    The 76ers were only a game away from the Eastern Conference finals this year, beating Chicago in five games before taking the Boston Celtics to seven games.

    With Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and others, the Sixers are a young, talented group who just need a bigger post presence to take the next step.

    Gasol for Iguodala would make a lot of sense for both teams based on need.

    Elton Brand is a shell of his former self and has an expiring contract.  Last year's starting center Spencer Hawes is a free agent and could very well not return.

6. Denver Nuggets

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    Potential Deal: Pau Gasol to Nuggets for Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington, first-round pick

    New Starting Five:

    PG—Ty Lawson

    SG—Arron Afflalo

    SF—Danilo Gallinari

    PF—Kenneth Faried

    C—Pau Gasol

    The Nuggets are another young team on the rise who could use a veteran like Gasol to help them take the next step.

    Led by Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried, Denver has a bright future and could make a huge leap by adding a skilled post player like Gasol.

    The Lakers would get an athletic wing in Chandler, a new starting power forward in Harrington and a future first-round pick from the Nuggets, helping them get younger and more athletic.





5. Portland Trail Blazers

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    Potential Deal: Pau Gasol to Blazers for Nicolas Batum, Jamal Crawford, Luke Babbit, first-round pick

    New Starting Five:

    PG—Nolan Smith/Free Agent/Draft Pick

    SG—Wesley Matthews

    SF—Draft Pick/Free Agent

    PF—LaMarcus Aldridge

    C—Pau Gasol

    This would be contingent on a couple of things.  First, Batum is a restricted free agent and would have to agree to a sign-and-trade to LA.  Second, Jamal Crawford would have to pick up his $5 million player option for next season.

    Batum is a nice young wing who LA should definitely be after but couldn't afford on the free agent market.

    Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge would be an awesome combination in the paint and would help the Trail Blazers once again make the Western Conference playoffs.

4. Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Potential Deal: Pau Gasol to T'Wolves for Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson and Nikola Pekovic

    New Starting Five:

    PG—Ricky Rubio

    SG—Martell Webster

    SF—Derrick Williams

    PF—Kevin Love

    C—Pau Gasol

    The Timberwolves have a nice young center that few know about in Pekovic, but landing Gasol to play center next to Kevin Love would still be a big upgrade for them.

    Michael Beasley is a restricted free agent, so some sort of sign-and-trade deal would have to be worked out, but the Lakers definitely have expressed interested in him.

    The T-Wolves are an up and coming team in the West and were in the playoff hunt before Ricky Rubio tore his ACL.  Rubio and Gasol both play for the Spanish National team in the Summer Olympics, so the chemistry should already be there.

3. Atlanta Hawks

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    Potential Deal: Pau Gasol to Hawks for Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia

    New Starting Five:

    PG—Jeff Teague

    SG—Joe Johnson

    SF—Marvin Williams

    PF—Al Horford

    C—Pau Gasol

    The Hawks have become a perennial playoff contender who consistently make an early exit.  The strength of the team remains their talented forwards and guards such as Josh Smith, Al Horford, Marvin Williams and Joe Johnson.

    Horford has been playing an undersized center for them for too long now and is better suited at power forward.  Joe Johnson has an untradeable contract, and Marvin Williams wouldn't be enough to package a trade around.

    Enter Josh Smith, who at 26 is coming off a career year but has proven he can't be a second option on a championship team.  The Lakers should be very interested in Smith, as he can play either forward position and adds a new dimension of athleticism.

    Gasol could be just the center the Hawks needs to take the next step in the Eastern Conference, and his salary matches up perfect with that of Smtih and Pachulia.

2. Houston Rockets

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    Potential Deal: Pau Gasol to Rockets for Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola and Marcus Morris

    New Starting Five:

    PG—Goran Dragic

    SG—Kevin Martin

    SF—Chandler Parsons

    PF—Patrick Patterson

    C—Pau Gasol

    Pau Gasol to the Rockets just seems too good not to happen.

    The Lakers need point guard help, the Rockets have two very good point guards.

    The Rockets need a center, the Lakers have two very good centers.

    Seriously, why hasn't this happened yet?  The Lakers should get Lowry, Scola and one of the Rockets' young forwards (Morris, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger) in return in a move that would help both teams.

    Gasol stays on a contender and once again gets to be the star.

1. Miami Heat

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    Potential Deal: Pau Gasol to Heat for Chris Bosh, James Jones

    New Starting Five:

    PG—Mario Chalmers

    SG—Dwyane Wade

    SF—LeBron James

    PF—Udonis Haslem

    C—Pau Gasol

    What a dream this would be for Gasol.

    Bosh and Gasol are actually pretty similar players, as they possess nice offensive games and can play near the basket or knock down jump shots.

    A trade like this would be huge, but could also benefit both teams.

    For the Lakers, they get a true power forward in Bosh who is nearly four years younger than Gasol and is also more athletic.

    For the Heat, they get someone with Bosh's skill set who can play center, a position that's been a black hole for them for the past few years.