Wow Pippen Peoples! This had been a crazy week to start off free agency. For the NBA and your Chicago Bulls. In 24 hours check out the turn of events of Chicago Bulls free agency.
After losing Carmelo Anthony in the free agency race to the New York Knicks (reportedly…the Bulls never had a chance) they rebound quite nicely coming back with the signing of Pau Gasol. The Chicago Bulls have officially reached an agreement with the free agent center on a multi-year deal.
Here’s why I love writing for Pippen Ain’t Easy. The Chicago Bulls have drama attached to all of this. As of right now, Chicago DOES NOT have the salary cap space to sign Gasol yet. So the Bulls have to make roster moves to get cap space to sign Gasol.
Man I swear if the Bulls front office could do a reality show, they would clear so much money, they could sign LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony AND Chris Bosh. It would be raining money!
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Bulls put all their chips in for Pau Gasol after their meeting with Carmelo Anthony. They probably read Pippen Ain’t Easy too. They knew that Anthony was never going to come. So they tried on numerous occasions to get a sign and trade deal done with the Los Angeles Lakers for Gasol. Naturally the Bulls are still trying to unload Carlos Boozer’s expiring contract on the Lakers along with some assets. The Lakers did not budge on any of the Bulls’ offers and trade talks broke down. Now that the Lakers acquired Jeremy Lin in a trade from the Houston Rockets. It’s a wrap. Carlos Boozer will not be traded to the Lakers.
Okay, so now what?
Now the Bulls are working in a tight window here. The Chicago Bulls are reportedly going to waive Carlos Boozer using their one time amnesty provision and clear Boozer’s $16.8 million dollars off the salary cap to make room to sign Gasol. If the Bulls are going to use this clause, the Bulls have a deadline of Wednesday.
Now that the Bulls have to sign Gasol outright, the word around the campfire is that the Bulls will pay Pau $6.5 million per season.
Is this a good move for Chicago going forward?
Are you kidding? This is a GREAT move for the Bulls. Forget the last two years that Pau Gasol played. He was playing for a complete idiot in Mike D’Antoni who did not use Gasol in the proper way. Bringing Gasol in will bring an immediate post presence. Something the Bulls did not have last year. Placing Joakim Noah in the high post took that away. If these two can work out a chemistry that is successful. The putrid offense of the Bulls will improve dramatically. Pau Gasol averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the Lakers last season.
Pau Gasol is a dramatic upgrade over the incumbent starter, Carlos Boozer. I’ve said this in earlier columns. Pau Gasol is one the most skilled offensive big men in the NBA. No check that the world. He can score from the post and with either hand. He has a jumper out to three-point line. Thanks to the Lakers parking him out there tends to do that to a player. The huge asset he brings to the Bulls is the ability to make plays with the pass. If Derrick Rose comes back healthy, the Bulls have three playmakers in Noah, Rose and Gasol. The San Antonio Spurs have shown us how dangerous a weapon the quick pass is to a defense. The Bulls now can have that weapon as well.
Okay everyone. That’s the good. Here’s the flip side. Gasol is not a spring chicken. Gasol recently turned 34 years old. That means he shouldn’t qualify for the Tom Thibodeau minutes marathon that a lot of Bulls players has had to suffer through the last couple of years. Everyone should know that there were times that Pau Gasol was known as Pau “Gasoft” in L.A. That would be by Laker fans so if you’re looking for a defensive stalwart, don’t hold your breath. One more thing, I hope he gets along with a demanding coach like Thibodeau. He is the polar opposite to Phil Jackson, who Gasol had a ton of success with.
This is a huge success for Chicago. As for Boozer, the Bulls have three days left to do something. On Thursday, if Jerry Reinsdorf reneges on the amnesty, boy it’s going to be fun at Pippen Ain’t Easy.