After averaging a career-low 17.4 points per game this past season and having another lackluster performance during the NBA playoffs, the consensus is that Pau Gasol has most likely played his last game for the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only will the Lakers’ front office be fielding offers for the Spanish forward throughout the off-season, but it appears that Gasol has a preferred trade destination.
Apparently, Gasol might be leaning towards playing in the Windy City alongside Derrick Rose and company according to Sam Smith of NBA.com:
“The interesting part, according to Lakers’ insiders, is Gasol would like to play for the Bulls.”
Trade rumors involving Gasol being shipped to the Bulls is nothing new in Los Angeles as those rumors began to heat up before the NBA trade deadline this past March. It was reported that Rose loved the idea of Gasol coming to Chicago, but the Lakers were unwilling to take on Carlos Boozer’s contract ($47 million remaining) in return.
A trade that might make sense for both sides would be the Lakers receiving Luol Deng and Richard Hamilton in return for Gasol. The addition of these two veterans would address to glaring issues for the Lakers at small forward and off the bench.
With 27-year-old Deng, the Lakers would get younger and a huge upgrade on the defensive end of the floor. Along with addressing the void at small forward, the Lakers would also receive the scoring boost off the bench with the addition of Hamilton.
Even though Boozer may not be out of the question, the Lakers will not be looking to ship Gasol out of town in return for practically the same player at the same high price in terms of money left on his contract. Instead, Los Angeles could simply sign Lamar Odom for the veteran’s minimum ($1.4 million) to help fill the void left by Gasol.
It’ll be interesting to see whether or not there is any truth to this rumor and if the Lakers can make this deal happen over the summer.