Report: Pau Gasol commits to Bulls (update)
UPDATE 1:54 p.m. -- According to multiple reports, Carmelo Anthony has informed all parties that he plans to accept a five-year, $120-million deal to stay with the New York Knicks.
So the Carmelo chase (and wait) appears to be over and the Bulls are working on a way to use a sign-and-trade with the Lakers to get Pau Gasol to Chicago.
The early Saturday news had Marca.com in Spain reporting a commitment to the Bulls by Barcelona native Pau Gasol.
The story said he is waiting for a sign-and-trade with the Lakers to be finalized, but gave no further details. It also said Gasol is planning to take a physical in Chicago, then return to Spain.
Don't bother going to the site, the Gasol news is buried under 150 soccer stories. Here's a direct link to the English language version:
Two obvious questions: Why Gasol and what does this mean for Carmelo Anthony?
As I've been saying, Gasol may not be an ideal fit since he's a power forward and 34 years old. But the Bulls need scoring and he's probably the best available player who is also attainable. The 7-footer has averaged at least 17.4 points in all but one of his 13 NBA seasons. He's also a reliable rebounder, averaging 9.7 last season in L.A.
Assuming they keep Taj Gibson, Gasol would give the Bulls a quality three-big rotation, along with Joakim Noah. Also, big men tend to have a longer shelf life because they rely less on speed and quickness.
It's not clear if the Bulls have agreed to a set salary with Gasol, but he's obviously well aware of the Anthony pursuit and probably favors any scenario where the Bulls end up with both players.
Gasol was also considering an offer from San Antonio presumably for the mid-level exception of $5.3 million.
It appears the Bulls are still trying to explore scenarios to bring Anthony to Chicago. If Knicks president Phil Jackson remains adamant about not agreeing to any sign-and-trade, the Bulls might have to consider trading Gibson to open more cap space.
Ultimately, this is Anthony's decision and if he tells Jackson he's leaving the Knicks to play in Chicago, with or without a sign-and-trade, it might open up more possibilities.
But the storyline throughout this process has been Anthony will never turn down a $129 million max offer from the Knicks to take less money elsewhere. That may be true, but this process has dragged on for a long time. He could have accepted the max offer a week ago, but seems intent on considering other options.
If Gasol is committed to the Bulls, that also means he's not going to the Knicks. There was some hope he would take the taxpayer midlevel of $3.3 million to play in New York and then try to lure brother Marc as a free agent next summer.
LeBron James is going back to Cleveland, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are likely to stay in Miami, the Knicks won't be able to do much to improve the team this summer -- the Bulls are hoping all those factors persuade Anthony to make the switch.
A sign-and-trade scenario for Gasol is unclear. It might be possible to send Carlos Boozer to Los Angeles, Gasol to the Bulls and Steve Nash's $9.7-million salary to the Knicks or a third team.
According to reports, the Lakers did not have to renounce Gasol to make the Jeremy Lin trade with Houston. The Lakers' official signings of Nick Young and Jordan Hill could wait until a Gasol trade is complete.
There are sign-and-trade scenarios that could benefit the Knicks. The Bulls could take back J.R. Smith and Pablo Prigioni, who are signed through 2016, to help New York open more cap space next summer. They could also send next year's first-round draft pick, the conditional Sacramento pick they received in the Luol Deng trade and younger players to New York or L.A.
If you missed it, here's the story from today's paper on the Bulls' battle of wills with former coach Phil Jackson...