A couple of weeks back, the sense around the league was that the Chicago Bulls would try to move one of their bigs before the trade deadline. Then the injuries hit — Joakim Noah is out for the season after shoulder surgery, and now Nikola Mirotic had an appendectomy Wednesday and is out until after the All-Star Game. The Bulls now need all that front court depth.
One of the guys rumored to be shopped around was Pau Gasol, although with him expected to opt out this summer and being 35 there were doubts he would bring back as much value as the Bulls got from keeping him around.
The Bulls have come to that conclusion, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.
Gasol can and would be foolish not to opt out this summer and cash in on the windfall of television deal money around the league. Even at age 35, he averaged 16.6 points and 10.9 rebounds a game, he remains an efficient scorer. He also shows good chemistry with Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose.
Signing Gasol is not going to be just about the money — likely north of $15 million a season, way more than the $7.7 he is scheduled to make — but the years. Gasol will be 36 when next season starts, are teams willing to give him four years? Three years? Plus maybe a team option year for another season? The Bulls are going to do some restructuring of their roster the next couple summers, how long do they want to be committed to Gasol?
Gasol may have a solid, fundamental game, but he’s not going to outrun father time.