NBA News: Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder Frontrunners for Pau Gasol Sweepstakes
By Vincent Paul Hidalgo | July 9, 2014 1:52 PM EST
The two teams who appear to have the best chance of nabbing the all-star Spaniars will get a championship edge in the upcoming NBA season.
Pau Gasol, the two-time NBA champion, is set to make his decision within the week and sources say that he has trimmed down his options to the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol of Spain reacts during Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semi-finals against Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 16, 2012. Credit: Reuters/Steve Sisney
Chicago's Plan A is to pair up Carmelo Anthony with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. If that does not go well with the indecision of Melo, the Bulls are turning their attention to Plan B - Gasol. While the Bulls already have a solid pair of bigmen in Noah and Taj Gibson their pursuit of the Spaniard is his ability to make plays. At age 34, Gasol still registered impressive number last season posting 17.4 points and 9.4 rebounds. His addition to the bulls frontcourt will presumably lengthen his career and those of the other Bulls frontcourt players.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, on the other hand, are trying to improve on their already formidabble trio of Russel Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant. Adding him to the mix is expected to elevate both the offense and defense of the team which was primarily predicated on isolation plays for their versatile perimeter players. Gasol has a behind to the basket game that can unburden and give a new look to the Thunder offense.
Other teams such as the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers have already expressed interest of acquiring the former all-star. Still, the Bulls and the Thunder appear to be frontrunners as reported by cbssports.com.
The dynamic duo of Westbrook and Durant already met with Gasol last week and just yesterday, Scoot Brooks, the OKC lead coach also pitched to Gasol. The Bulls met with the Spaniard last Thursday in Los Angeles and bot teams are crossing fingers that their pitches were sufficient to pry away the versatile big man from Tinseltown.
The Bulls can offer up as much as $11 million anually to Gasol if they use the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer and renounce all their free agents while the Thunder can pony up only up to the midlevel exception around $5 million annually.
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