9:30pm: Gasol is profoundly interested in re-signing with the Bulls this summer and has heavily resisted a trade, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Some teams believe strongly enough that he wants to stay in Chicago that they worry Gasol wouldn’t be fully motivated to play if he were traded, Wojnarowski adds.
8:23pm: Pau Gasol would ideally like to play with his brother Marc Gasol on the Grizzlies, as J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic hears. Marc said in October that he’d like to recruit Pau to Memphis, though he didn’t sound optimistic that he’d be able to do so. A conflicting narrative exists on whether Chicago is shopping Pau or merely fielding interest from other teams, with Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com offering some middle ground tonight, having heard that the team is open to trading him. Pau could otherwise end up leaving Chicago for Memphis as a free agent this summer, having acknowledged he’s “very likely” to opt out.
Marc is out with a broken foot that threatens to end his season, but the 35-year-old Pau remains a productive force for the Bulls, averaging 17.0 and 10.9 rebounds and making the All-Star Game as an injury replacement. The Bulls reportedly want a rotation player and a first-round pick for their Gasol, so he won’t come cheaply if he’s to end up leaving Chicago before the 2pm Central time deadline Thursday. The Bulls have reportedly had their eyes on an upgrade at the wing, with Ben McLemore one of their targets, but the Grizzlies traded Courtney Lee on Tuesday for two players and four second-round picks.
Whichever team Pau end the season with will have only Early Bird rights on him, and thus limited means to sign him without using cap room. Those Early Bird rights only cover up to 175% of his salary for this season, which is a bargain at slightly less than $7.449MM. The Bulls have close to $65MM already on the books for next season against a salary cap estimated to come in between $89MM and $95MM, while Memphis has only about $48MM in commitments for 2016/17.
The Gasol brothers have played together for the Spanish national team, but not in the NBA. They were traded for each other as part of the 2008 deal that sent Pau from the Grizzlies, the team with which he spent his first six and a half NBA seasons, to the Lakers.