Pau Gasol Trade Rumors: Why Chicago Still Makes the Most Sense

Adam MillerContributor IIIJuly 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12:  Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for an uncontested dunk in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

While Pau Gasol is not at the very forefront of the NBA offseason trade rumors, there is no question he would immediately make most teams relevant. 

Before the trade deadline, Marc Stein of ESPN reported that Chicago expressed interest in Gasol.  But a couple things have to happen first.

It’s pretty clear Dwight Howard will not be playing for the Orlando Magic next season. 

The saga of the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year looks like it will last all summer.  It never really ended, going back to this time last year. 

The Brooklyn Nets have shut down any possibility of trading for Howard.  The next likely destination appears to be the Rockets or Lakers.

It would seem a deal between the Magic and the Lakers is only conceivable if Andrew Bynum is involved. 

So for the Lakers and Pau Gasol there are a lot of possibilities at this point.  He could end up in Orlando with Bynum.  The Howard deal might fall through and he would stay put in Los Angeles. 

Otherwise, Pau Gasol is going to get moved.  If the Lakers trade Bynum and get Howard, it is not likely they can afford to keep Gasol.  Or Gasol might be sent somewhere else in a three-team deal.

Decent seven-footers that can actually put the ball in the hole are hard to come by.  Accomplished big men with two rings, still in their prime? Even harder. 

There are a lot of destinations for the coveted 7-footer that would be intriguing. 

What if he went across the Staples Center to the Clippers?  Gasol would definitely bring some structure and interior scoring to a roster full of players who have bounced around the League. 

Plus, Blake Griffin isn’t a true center and has trouble staying healthy. 

Or we could visit a month ago when Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News ruffled a lot of feathers with his claim that Memphis wouldn’t mind bringing Gasol back to the Grizzlies to play with his brother.  Tell me you wouldn’t tune in to watch the Gasols doing work.

Or how about teaming up with Chris Kaman and Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas to make the Mavericks a European force?

While any of those moves would be interesting, especially Memphis, none of them appear feasible.

The front door at American Airlines Center in Dallas continues to be a revolving one.  The Mavericks have only a few pieces left from their title team and subsequently wouldn’t have much to offer in a trade.

The story is the same for the Clippers and Grizzlies. 

The Grizzlies have said they are not parting with Rudy Gay. And Dwight Howard deal or not, the Lakers are going to want to replace Ramon Sessions.

Enter the Chicago Bulls.

Pau Gasol would be a huge pick up for Chicago and a tremendous boost to their interior game. 

Say what you want about Joakim Noah, but his hustle as an athletic rebounder is not something a lot of teams have.

He’s just not a true center.

While Omer Asik was definitely not the answer, they will have to pick up somebody now that he has been moved to the Houston Rockets.

The Bulls secured the top seed last season without a force down low.   Should Derrick Rose stay healthy, they are one perennial player away from truly making some postseason noise. 

The Celtics are getting older.  Miami certainly did not win the title because of their frontcourt. 

Pau Gasol would definitely fit in with Tom Thibodeau and a squad of mostly veterans. 

While Thibodeau is known for his suffocating man-to-man defense, Gasol would succeed in a more fast-paced offense that is constantly moving the ball.

Pau brings championship pedigree and three Finals appearances to the table.  He also would be a paint presence that Chicago has been lacking for years.  Defenses would be forced to sag down in the paint, which would open up Chicago’s perimeter game. 

Derrick Rose is a great player but should not be depended on to be the only scorer.  Everyone saw how much the Bulls struggled on offense once Rose became injured in the playoffs. 

Chicago has most of the pieces in place.  However, it would be worth it to part with Noah and others to receive Gasol. 

The Lakers have said they are not interested in Carlos Boozer, but they do not have a Joakim Noah on their roster.

Or the Bulls could give up Luol Deng, Richard Hamilton and cash. 

This would be smart for the Lakers because it would be getting rid of a huge contract from a player that is eyeing the decline of his career.  Kobe also made it publicly known in 2007 that he wants to play with Deng.  Veteran Richard Hamilton would add depth to the shallow Laker roster. 

In today's NBA, success is more about well-timed deals and smart free-agent pick-ups than gradually building your roster through draft picks. 

The Bulls should act now and make a move before someone else does.  And unlike the past couple of seasons, the Lakers are heavily involved with trade rumors, making them more likely to do a deal.

Pau Gasols don’t come around everyday.


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