Sam Smith of Bulls.com recently discussed the possibility of the Bulls acquiring Pau Gasol.
And here’s the attention-grabber:
“The interesting part, according to Lakers’ insiders, is Gasol would like to play for the Bulls.”
So with Gasol most likely out as a Laker and wanting to play in Chicago…
…what do the Bulls do?
As Smith points out, trading for Gasol would require a major restructuring of the Bulls as we know them. In Smith’s scenario, the Bulls would likely use Luol Deng and Rip Hamilton to acquire Gasol from the Lakers and then flip Joakim Noah:
You could get two players for someone like Noah to replace Noah and get a guard. Maybe Atlanta with a sign and trade for Kirk Hinrich and Marvin Williams; Charlotte for B.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson and B.J. Mullens, Houston with some package including Kyle Lowry and Courtney Lee; New Orleans for Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Jack and one of their lottery picks; Denver with Wilson Chandler and Andre Miller or Arron Afflalo; Minnesota with Luke Ridnour, Derrick Williams and maybe Anthony Randolph or Wes Johnson, though they’d need something back like the Bulls’ No. 1 pick.
Assuming any of this is possible — pretty big assumptions — the Bulls would come out with competitive talent that could still complement Derrick Rose when he returns (be it next season or the season after).
Of course, it would also be a stab to the heart of the fans who have come to love the team that’s been fielded the past two seasons. Unfortunately, due largely to Rose’s injury and cap restraints, major changes are coming no matter what. After all, due to the cash being paid out to Rose, Deng, Noah and Carlos Boozer — around $55 million between the four of them — management will probably have to let go of a few member of the Bench Mob (possibly C.J. Watson, Kyle Korver, and/or Ronnie Brewer).
If Rose was healthy, management would probably be willing to roll the dice on this current group. With Rose out for many months to come, they may choose to slice payroll and start preparing for the next team built around their MVP.
And trading for Gasol might be step one of that plan.