Pau Gasol – The Chicago Bulls Christmas Present


This offseason, the Chicago Bulls were one of the front runners to land Carmelo Anthony. The team was in hot pursuit and almost had him signing his name on the contract, but Carmelo was instead wooed back by Phil Jackson to stick around in New York.

"“It came down to Chicago and New York. Chicago was the one that, from day one, was something that I was very impressed with. They was looking for a person like me to come in and just take them to the next level,” Anthony said. “So it was perfect. It was a perfect setup, perfect fit for me in Chicago. But then also I had to think about just living in Chicago. Do I want to live in Chicago? Do I want to take everything that I created in New York and move all of that? It came down to that.” – ESPN"

With Carmelo eventually choosing to stick with New York, the Bulls moved and signed C Pau Gasol on July 18th, only 5 days after Carmelo chose to sign back with the Knicks. Pau signed with Chicago on a 3-year contract worth $22 million. Pau turned down a 2-year deal worth $22 million from the Lakers in order to join the squad. His desire to win was evident. It was not about the money, it was about getting back to a championship level again. He thought that Chicago was the best place for him.

"“Money obviously wasn’t the priority here,” said Gasol, who was introduced by the Bulls on Friday at the United Center. “I turned down bigger offers, and I prioritized being on a championship-caliber team and being in a position where I can hopefully put that team over the top with my game, as well. I felt that here, I was going to have that opportunity, and now it’s just a matter of getting to work.” – Pau when he first signed with the Bulls"

With Derrick Rose back healthy and Joakim Noah playing at an All-Star level, Pau saw a team that he could fit in nicely. The team already had nice depth up front with Taj Gibson as the 6th man off of the bench. The team had constantly been competitive with Tom Thibodeau running the team. Carlos Boozer was off of the roster and there was an opening in the front court for someone to take those minutes.

With over a third of the season already done, Pau has been one of the most valuable players on the roster. A few other playmakers emerged during the season as well. Jimmy Butler is playing at an All-Star level now. Aaron Brooks has stepped in as a solid scoring option off of the bench. Thibs can’t keep Nikola Mirotic off of the court because of the production that he has brought to the court. He is a rookie of the year candidate at this point.

With Pau on the roster over Carmelo Anthony, I think this team is a better place. There is no statistic that can prove this argument, it is just a manner of opinion. The Bulls have one of the best backcourts in the league with Derick Rose and Jimmy Butler. They also have one of the best front courts in the game with Pau and Joakim Noah. The bench has Nikola, Aaron and Taj. The pieces are in place to make that run.

The Bulls are not even at the place that they would like to be at the end of the year. The are still a work in progress, but we can see how good they can be. They hold the longest current win streak at 5 wins and have an 8-2 record in the last 10 games. They have beaten a pair of the best teams in the East during that win streak.

Pau has been a big reason for the team’s success. He is averaging a double-double this year with 18 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game. He wasn’t the first option in free agency, but he has been an amazing addition to the roster.