Updates from Saturday, July 12
Gasol announced via Twitter that he is signing with the Bulls:
It hasn't been easy. After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) July 12, 2014
ESPN's Brian Windhorst provides the latest on the Bulls' pursuit of Pau Gasol:
Bulls in the process of finalizing a free agent deal with Pau Gasol. Will not be a sign-and-trade with Lakers, sources told ESPN.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 12, 2014
Jonathan Feigan of the Houston Chronicle confirms the Rockets aren't involved in the sign-and-trade scenario that would land Gasol in Chicago:
Rockets are not a part of a sign-and-trade deal between the Bulls and Lakers, source said.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 12, 2014
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times previously reported Houston was in play as a third team:
Bulls advancing in S&T talks for Gasol, has involved Houston now as third team.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 12, 2014
Lakers in 3-way talks that would send Pau to CHI + net them 1 or 2 picks. As of now, no players coming back to Lakers. 3rd team possibly HOU— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 12, 2014
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports passes along more information on the potential deal:
Mike Dunleavy Jr., isn't expected to be included in a proposed Lakers-Bulls sign-and-trade for Pau Gasol, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 12, 2014
Johnson previously reported a sign-and-trade had been discussed:
The Bulls are working to finalize an agreement with Pau Gasol, and league sources said a sign-and-trade acquisition has been discussed with the Lakers.
Though the Lakers would have to nimbly execute several transactions that started with Friday's agreement to trade for the Rockets' Jeremy Lin, a league source indicated the Bulls have discussed sending Mike Dunleavy and the non-guaranteed contracts of Mike James, Lou Amundsen and Ronnie Brewer to the Lakers.
TNT's David Aldridge reports that a deal is inching closer to being finalized:
Source says that Pau Gasol deal to the Bulls "should get done today." Don't know impact on CHI pursuit of Melo.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 12, 2014
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provides the latest on the Bulls' pursuit of Pau Gasol:
Pau Gasol, Chicago working to complete an agreement, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 12, 2014
Updates from Friday, July 11
Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports Pau Gasol rejected two massive offers from the Los Angeles Lakers:
Prior to today, LAL offered Pau Gasol two deals: 2 years, $23 mill and 3 years, $29 mill per league source. He turned down both offers.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 12, 2014
Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reveal the two teams who appear to be the front-runners for Pau Gasol's services:
The Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs have emerged as the two leading contenders to land prized free-agent big man Pau Gasol, according to sources close to the process.
Sources told ESPN.com that Gasol is giving strong consideration to signing with defending champion San Antonio -- despite the Spurs' limited financial resources with such a deep roster -- in the event that the Bulls can't strike a sign-and-trade arrangement with the Lakers for Gasol.
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provides the latest on Chicago's pursuit of Gasol:
Pau Gasol could find his way to Chicago, but it's unlikely to be in a sign-and-trade for Carlos Boozer, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 12, 2014
Wojnarowski claims another team is attempting to win over Gasol:
Atlanta making aggressive, late pitch for Pau Gasol, league sources tell Yahoo. $11M-plus a year, sources say. Gasol likely passes on offer.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 12, 2014
Wojnariwoski also reports on Gasol's future with the Lakers:
Pau Gasol turned down a two-year, $10M-plus per deal with the Lakers, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Likely moving on.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2014
Gasol himself announced on Twitter that he's nearing a decision:
I'm very close to deciding. Thank you all for your interest and support! #FreeAgency— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) July 11, 2014
Updates from Thursday, July 10
Phil Jackson spoke about Pau Gasol's free agency on Thursday (via Marc Berman of the New York Post):
Jackson said he has couple of conversation with Pau. Selling him on the United Nations in town. Pau is affiliated.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) July 10, 2014
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reports on a recent meeting Pau Gasol attended in L.A.:
Lakers FA Pau Gasol met with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak at the practice facility last night, a source said.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 10, 2014
Earlier in the day, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported on the Bulls' plans for Pau Gasol should they strike out on Carmelo Anthony:
Though the Bulls had yet to be told officially they're out of the Anthony sweepstakes, the New York Daily News reported Anthony will make his Knicks' announcement Thursday. That would intensify the Bulls' pursuit of Gasol, and league sources indicated the Bulls hope to pursue sign-and-trade options with the Lakers for him involving Carlos Boozer's expiring salary.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports previously provided an update on the Bulls' pursuit of Pau Gasol:
Spurs persistence on Pau Gasol keeping them a serious contender, inching closer to the Bulls, league sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 10, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, July 9
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reports on the Chicago Bulls' pursuit of Pau Gasol:
According to a source, the Bulls feel that if Anthony goes elsewhere, they are one of the leading candidates to land free-agent big manPau Gasol — unless Anthony happens to choose the Los Angeles Lakers, which could start the dominos falling and convince Gasol to re-sign with the Lakers.
'It’s frustrating for [the front office], but it’s free agency,' the source said.
Updates from Tuesday, July 8
Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported on Oklahoma City's chances of landing Pau Gasol:
League source tells me the Thunder, once confident they had a legit chance at Pau, now consider it a long shot to land Gasol— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 8, 2014
However, Adrian Wojnarowski had more on the front-runners to land Gasol:
Spurs staying diligent on free agent Pau Gasol, but Bulls and Thunder -- with Lakers lurking -- lead the way, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 8, 2014
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck provides his take on Gasol's status among this summer's top free agents:
Updates from Monday, July 7
The Thunder are trying their best to impress Pau Gasol, and according to ESPN's Marc Stein, they asked their coach to help out:
As part of Thunder's continuing pursuit of Pau Gasol, I'm told OKC coach Scotty Brooks met today with Gasol to add his pitch to the pile— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 8, 2014
Updates from Sunday, July 6
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reported on the latest in Pau Gasol's free agency:
Pau Gasol has emerged as a key selling point for LA as sources believe he would quickly re-sign if they are able to land Anthony or James.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 6, 2014
Following Boris Diaw's return to San Antonio, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported the latest on the Spurs' interest in Gasol:
With Diaw's return set, the Spurs will continue their pursuit of free agent Pau Gasol with an offer of their midlevel exception, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Updates from Saturday, July 5
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune has the latest on the Bulls' interest in Gasol:
The Bulls face strong competition for Gasol, who has drawn interest from the Knicks, Thunder, Spurs and Heat. The Lakers, who paid him $19.3 million last season, also want him back at a reduced salary.
The Bulls could outbid all of those suitors except perhaps the Lakers. They left their meeting with the impression Gasol's decision wasn't imminent.
A source said the Bulls would hope to engage the Lakers in sign-and-trade possibilities should they get a verbal commitment from Gasol. The Bulls would dangle the expiring $16.8 million contract of Carlos Boozer and likely would have to include sweeteners, possibly in the form of draft picks. Steve Nash has an expiring deal the Lakers have shopped in the past.
Updates from Thursday, July 3
ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reports on another team Pau Gasol will visit during his free-agency tour:
Pau Gasol will indeed meet with the Heat, according to a source.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 4, 2014
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times shares more on the likelihood of Gasol staying in L.A.:
The Lakers are envisioning a future with Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol together in their frontcourt, hoping to make it a reality with step one Thursday.
The Lakers will meet with Anthony at an undisclosed location in Los Angeles, pitching their franchise as a perennial championship contender and their city as a wealth of opportunity.
If Anthony eventually chooses the Lakers, they feel they have a good chance of bringing Gasol back.
"If the Lakers get Carmelo, Pau will stay," said a person familiar with Gasol's thinking.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has the latest details on a new potential destination for Gasol, with a recruiting assist from another superstar:
Hours before his final meeting with New York Knicks officials, free agent Carmelo Anthony reached out to obtain free agent Pau Gasol's phone number and discuss with him the possibility of playing together at Madison Square Garden, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Knicks had exuded an increasing confidence they can hold off the free-agent courtships of Chicago and Houston and were further encouraged with Anthony's desire to talk to Gasol about New York, sources said.
Updates from Wednesday, July 2
A new suitor has emerged as a potential destination for Pau Gasol, reports ESPN's Marc Stein:
ESPN sources say Pau Gasol and Mike Miller are indeed among free agents that Oklahoma City has engaged with since market opened— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2014
OKC at present limited to roughly $5 millon in spending room below tax line, so remains to be seen if they can compete, especially for Pau— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2014
Meanwhile, an Eastern Conference team is in on the chase for Gasol, according to Stein:
ESPN has learned, meanwhile, that Bulls officials are headed to LA on Thursday for sitdown with their top target after Melo: Pau Gasol— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2014
Stein listed the two favorites to land the former Lakers star as of now:
Bulls and Thunder have emerged as two new top-flight teams in the hunt for Gasol, who has predictably been drawing considerable interest— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 2, 2014
At just around 7 p.m. ET, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that one team has emerged as the favorite to land Gasol:
In a surprising twist, OKC has come on strong with Pau Gasol, and described as a "frontrunner" for the Spaniard.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 2, 2014
Star power was involved with the Thunder per Stein:
ESPN has learned that Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook made a come-to-OKC pitch directly to Pau Gasol today in Los Angeles— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 3, 2014
Despite doing their best to impress Gasol, the Thunder remain realistic about signing him:
Thunder view run at Lakers FA Pau Gasol a "long shot" with only mid-level to offer, but they also believe "its worth a try," a source says.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 3, 2014
FOX Sports Live has an update on Gasol's status with the Lakers:
"I think he's probably done in L.A." -@WojYahooNBA on Pau Gasol— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) July 3, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 1
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times indicates which teams will reportedly meet with Pau Gasol:
Gasol has said numerous times that his main priority is playing for a title-contending team. He will meet with Oklahoma City, Chicago and Golden State and might also sit down with the Lakers, the team that has employed him since acquiring him from Memphis in February 2008.
ESPN's Dave McMenamin provides details on Gasol's meeting with the Lakers:
The meeting today between Kupchak and Gasol took place at an L.A. office building and lasted "a few hours," according to a source.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 2, 2014
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak met with free agent forward Pau Gasol in person on Tuesday, according to a league source.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 2, 2014
Gasol Tweeted about his situation:
Lots of phone calls from teams that are interested in me to be a key part of their goals. A lot to be considered. #FreeAgency— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) July 1, 2014
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports added another Eastern Conference team that has spoken with Gasol:
Free agent Pau Gasol had a phone conversation with Miami president Pat Riley today, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
Updates from Sunday, June 29
ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne details the latest gossip regarding Gasol's future:
While free-agent forward Pau Gasol grew tired of the persistent trade rumors that followed him for the better part of the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, he would give strong consideration to re-signing with the team, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Gasol has strong ties to Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who has advocated for his return, and a deep affinity for Los Angeles and the franchise he won two NBA titles with. While the constant trade rumors stung, Gasol learned to live with them and has a level of expectation that a new coaching staff would prioritize him more than Mike D'Antoni did, sources said.
Updates from Saturday, June 28
Via ESPN.com's Marc Stein, ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reports that Knicks president Phil Jackson is interested in chasing Gasol:
One source close to the process told ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne that Jackson is planning to make a determined attempt to try to recruit his former Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol to replace the freshly traded Tyson Chandler alongside [Carmelo] Anthony on the Knicks' front line, despite the fact New York is limited to offering Gasol less than $4 million for next season.
However, Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports Gasol could remain with the Lakers:
Although the Lakers' ideal free agency scenario involves convincing both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony to come play for them this summer, according to a source with knowledge of the team's thinking, they are not ruling out the return of the four-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion Gasol by any means.
In fact, should it appear that James and Anthony are not pursuing a mutual destination as a package deal -- especially with Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh opting out of their deals with the Miami Heat -- the Lakers believe that having Gasol back on the team could be vital in their solo pursuit of Anthony.
Updates from Sunday, June 22
Marc Stein of ESPN reports on another suitor for Gasol in free agency:
Free-agent whisper one week out: Mavs not only expect to have chance to make face-to-face pitch to Melo but also plan to pursue Pau Gasol— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 22, 2014
Updates from Thursday, May 8
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders provides an update on teams Gasol has shown interest in:
In an interview with http://t.co/K3B8ybZMdR, Pau Gasol mentioned the Lakers, Grizzlies, Bulls, Spurs as options he'll consider this summer.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 9, 2014
For the better part of the last three years, Pau Gasol has been in limbo, waiting for the call that would end his Lakers tenure. Now, on the precipice of hitting unrestricted free agency, it seems Gasol is comfortable with the fact that it's time to move on.
Gasol admitted as much Thursday when he spoke to reporters for his year-end press conference. It was a season defined for Gasol by the possibility of a departure—first via trade and then as a seeming reprieve this July. Gasol has spent the last six full seasons and parts of seven in Los Angeles, and as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports reported, the finality of the situation filled the room with sentimentality:
This year is a little different. Every time I said [he felt sentimental] is because I didn't know if I was going to be traded. That has been kind of a theme for the last three years. But this year that possibility is out of the question. Now it's because I will be in charge of my future, my destiny and I have to listen to the different possibilities that I will have on the table.
The Spaniard, who won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010 with the Lakers, ended his season like the other stars on this roster—on the injury list. A bout with vertigo caused him to miss 12 of the Lakers' final 13 games.
It was just the final nail in perhaps the worst season in Lakers history. With Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Gasol missing time due to injury, Los Angeles set a franchise record with 55 losses. Only the lowly Utah Jazz finished with a worse record among Western Conference teams.
Gasol, who missed 22 games total, was second on the team in points per game (17.4) and first in rebounds (9.7) and blocks (1.5). After a miserable first two months—featuring a good amount of back-and-forth bickering with coach Mike D'Antoni—Gasol rebounded by January to put up All-Star numbers. He averaged 19.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game on 51.1 percent shooting after Jan. 1.
Key to that offensive rejuvenation was a renewed commitment to banging in the paint. Gasol finished at nearly a 66 percent clip from the restricted area after the New Year and seemed generally motivated, despite the dilapidated state of the franchise. Although age has sapped most of Gasol's defensive effectiveness—he's still very heady, but effort was clearly lacking at times—the 33-year-old shouldn't have trouble finding suitors on the open market.
Gasol made $19.3 million in the final year of his Lakers deal and will quite obviously be taking a step down in salary. Given his recent injury issues and inconsistency, he'll probably have to scrap to land a two-year deal at an eight-figure annual salary. Gasol turns 34 in July, so it's unlikely any team will want to stretch to his 37th or 38th birthday.
"I want to enjoy the moment and not be too stressed about it, even though at some point I'm going to have to make a decision," Gasol said. "It will be exciting. I look at this as an opportunity. For the first, and maybe only time, I will be a free agent where I can choose. It's exciting. It's nothing that I've experienced in the NBA."
Returning to the Lakers remains a possibility—albeit remote. Prior to the trade deadline in February, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com reported why the Lakers were hesitant to part ways with Gasol while looking ahead to the offseason:
The Los Angeles Lakers have been weighing the benefits of holding on to the perpetually dangling Pau Gasol for the rest of the season to maintain his Bird rights this summer, against trading him before Thursday's trade deadline, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. ...
... However, sources said the Lakers have remained resolute in every trade discussion not to trade Gasol without acquiring an asset in return, and that there is a growing sentiment within the organization that it could be more valuable to hold on to Gasol and his Bird rights as he becomes a free agent and the organization has substantial room under the salary cap for the first time in years.
Gasol and Bryant are known to share a close bond, but the Buss family is decidedly less likely to hand the big a sweetheart deal the way it did with Kobe. The Lakers want financial flexibility going into the next two summers, where they plan a free-agent spending splurge on free-agent classes that will include the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love.
Phil Jackson's presence in New York will also engender discussion about a Knicks reunion. That would require an even more substantial pay cut from the one Gasol is already taking due to the Knicks' financial constraints. Gasol was noncommittal when asked about the possibility, saying he would "listen" as he would with the Lakers.
The Knicks have their own set of priorities to take care of following a lost season of their own. Anthony is a free agent and expected to draw a bidding war on an open market that includes the Lakers. Gasol would have to be a secondary concern.
Considering what he's gone through the last couple years, the team that lands Gasol might merely be the first to make him a top priority for once.
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