Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol of Spain fights for a rebound with Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles

Report: Bulls trying to engage Lakers in Pau Gasol trade talks


The feeling among Bulls fans is they have a good team — one built for the regular season but one that cannot get by the Heat in the playoffs. Not as the teams stand now. I don’t think the gap between the two teams (when healthy) is that great, but the Heat do look the better side when everything is functioning.

The Bulls need something more — like Pau Gasol.

That’s what they are talking to the Lakers about, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

The Chicago Bulls are exploring avenues to acquire Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol before Thursday’s trade deadline, according to sources close to the situation.

Sources say that the Lakers, however, have limited interest in the players Chicago would be offering, starting with Bulls forward Carlos Boozer. So the Bulls would have to recruit at least one more team to the discussions to have any shot at Gasol, sources said, with the Lakers known to be insistent on getting back at least one certifiable star if they consent to the trade the Spaniard. Sources say that the Lakers, furthermore, continue to talk to other teams about Gasol in advance.

For the Bulls, this makes a lot of sense (especially since Dwight Howard has no interest in Chicago). Pau Gasol is the kind of big they need — good scorer around the rim, has a midrange game, very good passer, underrated defender and he has championship experience.

For the Lakers… let’s just say the Bulls are going to have to offer a lot more to make up for the gap from Gasol to Boozer. A lot. That is a steep drop. I’m not sure who the third team would be or what they could offer, however I think there is a reason the Bulls are having trouble finding a good partner here. Nothing is impossible, but I’ll just say the Bulls have a large gap to bridge here.

Remember the Lakers think with a point guard to go with Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Gasol they are a threat in the West. They will entertain moving Gasol but they are not desperate to do so in the least.

The Rockets and other teams also are engaged in talking to the Lakers about Gasol, Stein reports.

But come Friday, I would expect Gasol will be a Laker.

LeBron James with two-handed halfcourt bounce pass for assist (VIDEO)

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Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:

Kobe gets great introduction, loud ovation in Philadelphia

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Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game —  but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.

In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.

Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.

That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.

Rumor: Nets testing trade waters for Bojan Bogdanovic

Bojan Bogdanovic, Otto Porter Jr.
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If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.

First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.

Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.

Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.

Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.

Just a reminder that Joakim Noah would like some more run

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Joakim Noah is playing 20.6 minutes a night coming off the bench for Fred Hoiberg and the Chicago Bulls this season.

And he doesn’t like it. He wants more run. He was getting 10 minutes more a night last season under Tom Thibodeau, and Noah wants some of those minutes back. Nick Friedel of ESPN sent out a tweet that was a reminder of just that.

Three thoughts here.

1) Reducing minutes for guys who battle injuries every season by the time the playoffs roll around was one huge reason Fred Hoiberg was brought in to coach the Bulls and Tom Thibodeau was shown the door. This isn’t just Hoiberg, the minutes reduction comes from management. While it is possible Noah’s spot in the rotation shifts (he could start at some point) and he might get a little more run, the Thibodeau era is gone.

2) There are legit reasons for Noah to want to play. First, he is a competitor who doesn’t like sitting. Second, the Bulls’ defense is elite when he plays (allowing 95.5 points per 100 possessions) and the Bulls outscore opponents by 1.3 per 100 when he plays. Finally, Noah is in the final year of his contract and scoring just 3.1 points per game is not going to help him earn more cash in the next deal.

3) Barring injury to another big, don’t expect a change.