Pau Gasol played his best game of the year on Wednesday night, finishing with a season-high in both scoring (26 points) and rebounding (19) to lead the Bulls to a tight victory over the Denver Nuggets. After the game, he told CSN's Vincent Goodwill he plans to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Bulls this summer to become a free agent.
This is news in the sense that Gasol's intentions had not previously been reported, but anyone paying attention could have guessed he was going to opt out. Gasol -- an All-Star game starter last season! -- has outplayed the $7 million annual deal the Bulls gave him last summer. With the NBA salary cap rising to unprecedented levels, there's going to be an opportunity for Gasol to cash in one more time before his career is over.
In the short term, it will be interesting to see if the circulation of this report leads the front office to shop Gasol before the trade deadline. Then again, when the dude is putting up 26 points and 19 rebounds, maybe that's an unrealistic expectation.
We've debated Pau's strengths and weaknesses ad nauseam around here, so let's just skip that and get right into it with a poll. Do you want Pau back next year? Let's say for .... two years, $26 million? (Feel free to tell me if that estimate is way off)