Bulls free agency rumors: Pau Gasol could be interested

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Gasol named the Bulls as one team he may be interested in when free agency rolls around.

Pau Gasol's name has been thrown around as a possible option for the Bulls this offseason [SI's Chris Mannix (via) had a 'poll of executives' mentioning the Bulls as a Pau destination last month -yfbb], and while the big man said he'd prefer to remain with the Lakers in an interview with the Spanish sports website marca.com, he also did say he could be interested in coming to Chicago (via the LA Times):

He also said the Chicago Bulls, with the return of Derrick Rose and the possible addition of fellow Spaniard Nikola Mirotic, could be an interesting team.

Gasol looked like a guy severely on the decline in 2012-13, but he did bounce back to put up much better numbers this year, averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds. Of course, just like 2012-13, Gasol once again dealt with nagging injuries for much of the year, which is a major concern going forward. He's going to turn 34 in July, and his big body just might not be able to handle the rigors of a full season anymore.

Gasol could be an intriguing option with the Bulls because of his skill set and the need for some frontcourt help, but the price would have to be just right due to his age and injury problems. He made over $19 million this past season, and although he's obviously not going to make nearly that much annually going forward, he still could be looking for a somewhat lucrative deal.

If the Bulls were to amnesty Boozer and get significantly under the cap, I certainly wouldn't want them to blow a majority of their cap space on Gasol. There are simply more pressing needs and the risk is too much. If he were willing to take a major discount and come for cheap, sure, I'd be more willing to do that. Another option is attempting to engage the Lakers in sign-and-trade discussions involving Carlos Boozer. I'm not sure how receptive the Lakers would be to those talks, but they do have a ton of cap space and acquiring Boozer wouldn't ruin their 2015 plan.

In the end, Gasol wouldn't be one of my first choices this offseason, but the Bulls could probably do worse if they were able to get him on a reasonable deal. Potentially having a frontcourt of Gasol, Mirotic, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson would be pretty impressive, and maybe Pau could stay healthier in a more limited role.

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