NBA: Chicago Bulls Center Pau Gasol Officially Becomes A Free Agent
With free agency right around the corner, several players have announced that they will become free agents this summer. According to ESPN, Pau Gasol has officially notified the Chicago Bulls that he is declining his player option to become an unrestricted free agent. He is still playing at a high level. Several teams in the NBA will be interested in signing Gasol to their roster this summer.
The Memphis Grizzlies selected Pau Gasol with the 3rd overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. He has built up an amazing resume since joining the league. Gasol won the NBA Championship twice with the Los Angeles Lakers and was voted to the All Star game six times.
In the summer of 2014, Pau Gasol decided to join the Chicago Bulls. He signed a three-year deal worth $22 million with the third year being a player option. Gasol signed with the Bulls in hopes of competing for another NBA Championship. He helped the Bulls get to the playoffs once in his two years with the team.
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Last summer, the Chicago Bulls decided to part ways with Tom Thibodeau. Bulls management decided to go in another direction and hired former Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg. He signed a five-year deal worth $25 million.
Coming into last season, Pau Gasol and the Chicago Bulls had high hopes of making a deep playoff run. Things didn’t turn out that way for the Bulls this past season. Instead, they finished second to last in their division. The Bulls missed the NBA Playoffs for the first time in eight years.
Pau Gasol showed everyone that he still has some gas in the tank to be an effective player at his age. The All Star played in 72 games. He averaged 16.5 points, 11 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2 blocks per game in 31.8 minutes.From the looks of it, the Chicago Bulls might have an entirely different roster next season. Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol are expected to join different teams this summer. Earlier this summer, they decided to trade away Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jerian Grant, and Jose Calderon.
The Chicago Bulls trading for Robin Lopez might be a sign of the departure of Pau Gasol this summer. Gasol already had free agency in his mind when he said it was very likely he would opt out and become a free agent.
There will be several teams in the NBA interested in adding a seasoned veteran like Pau Gasol to their roster. One team that comes to mind right away is the San Antonio Spurs. They love international players. Gasol could be the perfect fit for the Spurs. He is unselfish, a good facilitator, and good at rebounding. There have been talks of Tim Duncan retiring this summer. If he does decide to hang it up, that would open up a huge gap in San Antonio. Gasol could potentially fill that hole.Another team that could go after Pau Gasol is the New York Knicks. They currently have their eyes set on Kevin Durant, but that is very unlikely. Gasol has some ties to the Knicks. He was coached by team president Phil Jackson when he was with the Los Angeles Lakers. Gasol also played with their newly acquired point guard Derrick Rose for the past two seasons. Pau would be a very good mentor to Kristaps Porzingis. If the Knicks do manage to sign the All Star, they could be a playoff team next season.
Pau Gasol is a seasoned veteran who is looking to compete for another NBA Championship. There will be several teams looking to sign him to their roster. Gasol has even said he is willing to take a pay cut to win another ring.
[Photo by Pau Gasol/Getty Images]