JULY 18TH: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.
“We are really excited to add such a versatile player to our roster who has been both an All-Star and an NBA Champion,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said in the team’s statement. “Pau is a skilled player with a high basketball IQ and is a true pro and a proven winner.”
JULY 13TH, 10:46pm: It’ll be a three-year, $22MM+ deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).
JULY 12TH, 4:35pm: Pau Gasol will be leaving Los Angeles to play for the Bulls next season, the big man announced on Twitter (hat tip to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News). Terms of the contract haven’t been released, but the Spaniard won’t be heading to Chicago via sign-and-trade, as Brian Windhorst of ESPN had noted earlier.
A hot name in the free agent market, the Arn Tellem client reportedly drew interest from the Spurs, Knicks, Thunder, and Heat, among others. The Lakers surely would have liked to work out a sign-and-trade for Gasol, but apparently the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement, and Gasol walks away from LA with the Lakers having nothing to show for it.
An earlier report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports indicated the Bulls would give Gasol a starting salary in the neighborhood of $6MM if they couldn’t come to terms with Lakers on a sign-and-trade. Given that Chicago is over the cap, they’d actually only be able to offer Gasol a maximum salary of $5.305MM using the non-taxpayers mid-level exception.
If the team uses the amnesty provision to shed Carlos Boozer‘s contract before signing Gasol, they’ll be able to give him a higher payday, and it would give them greater flexibility to sign Nikola Mirotic. There have been conflicting reports on whether or not the club intends to use their amnesty, but owner Jerry Reinsdorf has a reputation as being cost-conscious, and he might not be willing to pay a player who’s not going to be playing on his team.
At 34 years old, Gasol is beyond his prime playing days, but he’s still able to put up more than respectable numbers. He was able to average 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game last season over 60 games.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.