Not everyone buys that.
Two rival executives aren’t convinced the Bulls are done gauging the market for Gasol, whom the Bulls would like to re-sign this offseason but at their price.
Gasol – who’s averaging 16.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.0 blocks per game – provides value to the Bulls. But they also have Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis and could re-sign Joakim Noah. Perhaps, a team without so much big-men depth would value Gasol even more and, accordingly, make a larger financial offer.
Of course, money isn’t everything. Gasol rejected bigger offers in 2014 to sign with Chicago.
But the Bulls don’t look as close to a title as they did then. Jimmy Butler is excellent. But enough time has passed to make it unlikely, if not downright impossible, Derrick Rose ever comes close again to his MVP form. Noah, who was coming off a fourth-place finish in MVP voting when Gasol signed, has regressed with age.
Chicago might be tempted to make just a moderate offer to Gasol. If he takes it, the Bulls can continue along their current path with the wiggle room to add help. If not, they could rebuild around Butler, Mirotic, Portis, Doug McDermott, a potentially valuable first-round pick coming from the Kings and Chicago’s own first-rounder.
If that latter route seems likely, though, why not trade Gasol and get a head start?
Then again, that could make it less likely the Bulls – 26-21, fifth in the Eastern Conference and half a game from third – advance in this year’s playoffs.
The Gasol conundrum could take the Bulls in a number of directions, which is why I’m also not convinced they’ll just stand pat with him until the offseason. As usual, it’ll likely come down to the quality of trade offers they receive.