The trade rumors surrounding two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol are starting to heat up once again in the City of Angels with talk of the veteran forward wanting to be dealt to the Chicago Bulls.
Rumors of Gasol being traded to the Bulls began to gain some steam before the NBA trade deadline back in March. The Chicago proposed a deal that would send Carlos Boozer to Los Angeles in exchange for Gasol. With Boozer’s contract ($47 million) almost identical to Gasol’s ($48 million), the Bulls were pitching an even swap, but the Lakers were interested.
Now it appears that talks between the two teams may begin once again with Gasol preferring to land in Chicago according to Sam Smith of Bulls.com:
“The interesting part, according to Lakers’ insiders, is Gasol would like to play for the Bulls. And what you hardly need any sources for is to see how he and Bryant basically can’t stand one another.”
After conducting exit interviews with the players, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak let it be known that changes will be made in the offseason. With the Lakers glaring weakness on bench and Gasol posting a career-low 17.4 points per game over the course of the 2011-12 NBA season, the Spaniard’s days in Los Angeles may be over.
There’s no question heading into the NBA offseason that Gasol is the Lakers’ best bargaining chip on the trade market. All-Star center Andrew Bynum might also be on the trading block over the summer, but it seems like a forgone conclusion at this time that Gasol will be traded before next season.
Potential targets for the Lakers from the Bulls via trade will most likely be Luol Deng, Richard Hamilton and Taj Gibson. A package for Gasol will result in two or more of these players heading to Los Angeles in return.
With the Lakers potentially signing Lamar Odom for the veteran’s minimum this summer, the former Sixth Man of the Year might easily fill the void left by his former teammate.
Although Boozer isn’t completely out of the question in terms of being dealt to L.A. for Gasol, the Lakers have made it clear they have no interest in the veteran forward. Along with this deal being an attempt to improve the roster with younger players, it is also a move to get rid of Gasol’s contract that has two year remaining at $19 million per season.
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