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Kings Reportedly Targeting Gasol
Thursday, Feb. 18
Marc Stein of ESPN reported the Kings are still pursuing Gasol as the trade deadline looms.
David Aldridge of NBA.com reported that rumors linking Gasol to the Kings are "being shot down posthaste," adding that it "sounds like they're coming from one direction." Earlier in the day, Sam Amick of USA Today reported "skepticism from [the] Bulls side that a deal will materialize" with the Sacramento Kings.
On Wednesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical passed along what he was hearing regarding talks between the two sides:
The Bulls have discussed deals with multiple NBA teams on Gasol, but one discussion lingered on Wednesday, league sources told The Vertical’s Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix: Gasol and Tony Snell to the Sacramento Kings for Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore and a lowering of the lottery protections on the 2016 first-round pick that Sacramento owes the Bulls.
Latest on Gasol's Deadline Availability
Wednesday, Feb. 17
According to Wojnarowski, the Bulls are interested in moving the 35-year-old Spaniard since he is expected to decline his player option this offseason and become an unrestricted free agent.
However, Wojnarowski later reported that Gasol has "strongly resisted" the idea of being traded somewhere as a two-month rental, preferring instead to sign an extension with the Bulls.
ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reported that the Bulls are not actively shopping Gasol despite taking some calls regarding his availability.
Gasol Tempting Trade Target for Slumping Bulls
Gasol is averaging 17 points, 10.9 rebounds and two blocks per game for the Bulls, but the team has fallen off significantly as of late, as a four-game losing streak has it at just 27-25 and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
With Chicago's chances of contending starting to fade, dealing Gasol prior to the deadline rather than potentially losing him for nothing may be the franchise's best course of action.
In addition to that, trading the six-time All Star and two-time NBA champion could help the Bulls get below the luxury tax, which they are currently $4.5 million over, per K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
It is unclear where Gasol may ultimately land if Chicago decides to deal him, but there promises to be plenty of interest in the former Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers star.
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press believes the Miami Heat could be a potential candidate in acquiring Gasol's services:
Considering Pau Gasol wanted to come to Miami before ... well, you know ... one wonders if this becomes a landing point now.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 17, 2016
Depending on what the Bulls get in return for Gasol in a possible deal, trading him would essentially be an admission that a trip to the NBA Finals in 2016 isn't realistic despite the presence of stars Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose on the roster.
That would be a tough pill for Bulls fans to swallow considering the team was near the top of the Eastern Conference for much of the early portion of the season.
If the organization's higher-ups truly don't see a deep playoff run in the Bulls' immediate future, though, trading Gasol to add assets to a talented core is the smartest move for the team moving forward.
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