marc gasol

Report: Marc Gasol has ‘no interest’ in joining Lakers


Marc Gasol is technically an unrestricted free agent this summer, though most believe that he’s going to re-up in Memphis on a contract at or near the max.

The Lakers are a team that’s in the market for some All-Star frontcourt talent, especially after passing up on Jahlil Okafor to select D’Angelo Russell with the second overall pick in the NBA Draft.

While they weren’t necessarily counting on Gasol being available in the first place, it seems as though L.A. will be able to formally cross him off of its list, perhaps before the process even gets started.

From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

Marc Gasol has no interest in the Lakers because of the uneasy last few years his brother spent with them, according to numerous people familiar with the situation.

There’s a reason Pau Gasol left the Lakers to join the Bulls when it was his turn at free agency, and took less money to do so. Not only was his name included in trade rumors off and on for his last three seasons in Los Angeles, but Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni marginalized him within the team’s offense, and couldn’t figure out how to properly use Gasol to get the most from his All-Star skill set.

Marc’s comfortable in Memphis, and the team has been built into a consistent contender. The Lakers are far away from that at this point, which makes them a less desirable destination. But add the way the franchise treated Pau over his last couple of seasons to the equation, and it’s easy to see why Los Angeles is a place that Marc won’t even begin to consider.

Bulls draft pick Bobby Portis apparently trashed Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol in old tweets


Larry Nance Jr. isn’t the only first-round pick in an awkward spot today thanks to an old tweet.

Bulls pick Bobby Portis apparently was a Heat fan in 2011 and didn’t have nice things to say about Derrick Rose and the Bulls. For good measure, Portis also criticized then-Laker Pau Gasol, who’s now with Chicago.

Tweet 1


Tweet 2

To his credit, Portis did the only thing he could. He apologized and tried to make amends:

I figure Rose and Gasol will let bygones be bygones – at least after a little hazing.

(hat tip: Aldo Soto of Sports Mockery)

Pau Gasol thanks Thibodeau in very Gasol-like comments


Pau Gasol is as good a human being as you are going to find in the NBA.

The Chicago Bulls big man took to his blog recently to comment on the release of Tom Thibodeau as coach of the team, and as you would expect he was gracious to everyone involved (as translated by the Chicago Tribune).

“Coach Thibodeau, (I) want to thank your trust and support this season,” Gasol wrote. “I am sure that his departure was a very difficult decision for the organization of the Bulls, but I am convinced that they have a solid plan for the success of the franchise. We all have high expectations for the coming season and will do anything to bring the ring to Chicago. Go Bulls!”

Those high expectations will fall on Fred Hoiberg, who is expected to be given the job officially as Bulls coach on Monday.

Part of his challenge is getting the most out of Gasol and finding lineups where he works well. Gasol averaged 18.5 points a game on 49.4 percent shooting and was named to the All-Star Team last season. Though not terribly athletic anymore, he remains a skilled big man with the ball who can score back-to-the-basket or from the midrange. Defensively he’s not bad if allowed to be in the paint, but the farther he is dragged out on the court to deal with pick-and-rolls, the more trouble he gets into.

When Gasol was paired with the other starters — Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy and Joakim Noah — the Bulls were +4.1 per 48 minutes. Gasol was part of the Bulls four most successful lineups that played at last 100 minutes together last season. He’s got value.

But it’s up to Hoiberg to use those assets well while hiding his liabilities.

Three coaches who may replace Tom Thibodeau in Chicago


It was time.

But now the Bulls have to do better than the guy they had. That is not going to be easy.

Tom Thibodeau is one of the better, more successful coaches in the NBA. He’s also a hard-driving guy who physically and mentally wore out his charges, guys who did not want him back as the coach. Thibodeau changed the NBA game with his defense, but his offense was conventional, lagging far behind what innovative teams — Golden State, San Antonio — had done to counter his defenses. The blood was bad in Chicago, time for everyone to move on.

That doesn’t excuse the quiet smear job Bulls management has been doing to Thibodeau — up to and including his firing — but there’s a ring of truth to all of it.

Thibodeau will land on his feet somewhere. He’s sought after, and as a classic workaholic he incapable of taking a year off to backpack through Thailand. Or whatever.

Now what direction do the Bulls go?

Bulls GM Gar Forman tried to play his cards close to his vest Thursday at the press conference. (From PBT’s Sean Highkin, who was at the press conference.)

“I just don’t think we’re going to put ourselves in a box. I know that’s kind of an easy thing to say, but we’ve got certain criteria, some of which I’ve already said, but we’re not going to put ourselves in a box that it had to have been a head coach, an assistant, what level they’ve coached at. We’re really looking for the right fit. I went through some of those things that I talked about, obviously someone that could lead, someone that can communicate at a high level, has a great knowledge of the game. Obviously experience is a plus, as far as coaching is concerned. If they’ve been a head coach, even more so. But we’re not going to limit the search in any way.”

Sure. That is a PR crafted statement. The truth is they pretty much are limiting their serious search to these three guys:

1) Fred Hoiberg. The current Iowa State coach — and former 10-year NBA player and front office executive with Minnesota — has long been on the top of the Chicago Bulls list. He’s considered the most NBA-ready of the college coaches by GMs around the league, there will not be as much learning on the job as with most college coaches. The question is does he want to make the leap to the NBA right now? Hoiberg grew up in Ames, Iowa, the hometown of Iowa State. That’s where he played his college ball. He’s called the mayor there for a reason. Plus, he recently had a heart procedure — is deep-dish pizza and NBA hours/stress what he wants in his life right now?

2) Alvin Gentry. He’s sort of the anti-Thibodeau — a player-friendly coach whose strength is on the offensive end. He was the lead assistant in Golden State this year where his fingerprints are all over the Warriors’ prolific offense. The season before he was Doc Rivers’ lead assistant in charge of a Clippers’ offense that has been the most efficient in the league for a couple seasons. There is plenty of talent in Chicago — Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol, Jimmy Butler (who will re-sign in Chicago), Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell, Doug McDermott, plus Mike Dunleavy. If the Bulls want to change course, this is the best call.

3) Adrian Griffin. The Bulls current lead assistant keeps the job in house but promotes a guy a lot of the league sees as an assistant ready for the move to the big chair. He’s a former NBA player who is credited with the development of guys like Jimmy Butler (who just one Most Improved Player). The guys in the locker room love him.  He’s not a bad choice, but he is Plan C — if Hoiberg and Gentry both pass on Chicago, Griffin’s phone will ring. 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ improved defense helps them to Finals


The Cleveland Cavaliers are not in the Finals without LeBron James playing like the best player on the planet. They are not there without J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson stepping up, or without Kyrie Irving playing through pain.

But they are also playing good defense, and that’s what Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

The Cavaliers are allowing 98.5 points per 100 possesions in the playoffs, the best of the four teams to reach the Conference Finals. Opponents are shooting just 41.2 percent against them through three rounds.

The question to be answered in the Finals: Was that just because they were in a soft East? The Celtics were not a very good team, Pau Gasol was injured in the Bulls series, and the Hawks were a mess on offense. How much of that was good Cavaliers defense and how much was bad opponent offense?

This much is for sure: Golden State (or maybe Houston, but probably Golden State) will provide an entirely different level of challenge.