We know how this movie ends — the Chicago Bulls are going to have the best passing front line in the NBA next season with Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol.
The only question is what road everyone takes to get there.
Pau Gasol took to twitter to make his announcement on Saturday.
This has been expected for about 24 hours — the Bulls offer the best combination of being able to pay Gasol more than mid-level exception money as well as being a contending team. Teams like the Spurs and Thunder both came after Gasol hard but couldn’t offer as much money. Plus the Bulls being in a major metropolitan area doesn’t hurt with the cultured, Barcelona-raised Gasol.
The only question was whether this move would come through a sign-and-trade or a straight up signing after the Bulls amnesty Carlos Boozer. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports explains:
The Bulls and Lakers have been working on a sign-and-trade package to bring Gasol to the Bulls on a multiyear contract that starts at approximately $10 million a year, league sources told Yahoo Sports. If a sign-and-trade doesn’t come together, the Bulls will sign Gasol to a multiyear deal with a salary starting in the $6.5 million-a-year range, sources said.
The Lakers have not formalized the signings of Nick Young or Jordan Hill to leave the cap space open to make a trade, but no deal has yet come together.
The Bulls don’t want to amnesty Boozer — they still have to pay him, he’s just not on the official books — so they have tried to work out a trade but the Lakers but they have struggled to come to a deal.
The Bulls would need to amnesty Boozer to sign both Gasol and heralded European star Nikola Mirotic (one of the best players overseas).
One way or another, it will get done. Gasol is not Carmelo Anthony — the guy a lot of Bulls fans held out hope for — but he is an upgrade over Carlos Boozer. Gasol is a smart player who can be the fulcrum of the offense from the elbow or can score in the post. He’s a gifted passer and has a midrange jumper. He’s not a great defender, but he’s better than Boozer. Don’t let how Mike D’Antoni misused him fool you, he’s getting older but is still a quality big man, and he averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds a game last season. Bottom line is he’s an upgrade in Chicago.