Bulls Add Paul Gasol in Free-Agency Coup

Posted by Richard Kagan on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 with No comments
The Chicago Bulls lost out in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes as Anthony chose to re-sign with his "hometown" New York Knicks.  The move allowed Anthony to earn in upwards of $50 more than what the Bulls could offer over the life of the near max deal.  The Bulls quickly put plan B in place which was to convince veteran NBA forward Pau Gasol that Chicago was the right place for him all the while fighting off contenders such as the Oklahoma City Thunder and 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.  The irony is that before Anthony officially re-signed with the Knicks, Gasol had already agreed in principle to join the Bulls.

Pau Gasol is a 4 time NBA All-Star with 2 NBA Championships (Los Angeles Lakers) and he can help the Bulls immensely and immediately.  In 60 games with the Lakers last season, Gasol averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.   He is versatile, can play multiple sets, and is a smart, hard-working player with a nice shooting touch.  It's that versatility that allows him at 7 feet to play center or forward, re-make the position he plays in, and gives him the benefit of having a good out-side shoot.  If all else fails, Gasol does have an array of post moves at his disposal.  If he is healthy for the duration of the upcoming season, Gasol will be an excellent addition to the Bulls.

Reportedly Gasol is going to sign a 3 year, $22 million deal and to clear salary cap space the Bulls traded forward Anthony Randolph, two second round picks, plus some cash to the Orlando Magic for Milovan Rakovic.  In another cap relieving move, the Bulls informed Carlos Boozer of his impending waiver via the NBA's amnesty clause.  The franchise is also bringing in 6' 10" forward Nikola Mirotic, from the Spanish League, who has a good outside shot and defends well.  Perhaps Chicago is trying to emulate the San Antonio Spurs who crushed the Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals, with a roster made up of first rate foreign born players in Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Tiago Splitter.

It is going to be interesting to see how Gasol fits in with Joakim Noah, the All-Star center of the Bulls. Noah is a great passer, defender, and brings so much intensity when sizing up a play. Noah is also a fierce rebounder.  Suddenly, the Bulls front court looks very much improved.

On paper, the Bulls appear to be ready to make a serious playoff push.