Paul Gasol, the Chicago Bulls big man, is set to leave the team in free agency for either Memphis Grizzlies or New York Knicks, per latest NBA Rumors.
Gasol has a player option on the third year of his $22 million contract which he signed with Bulls during the summer of 2014-15. With the new TV money kicking in, Gasol is looking to capitalize on that like many other soon-to-be free agents.
“The Bulls’ door is open because I’ll opt out and become a free agent, and Chicago will be always my first option,” Gasol said recently, confirming that he will opt out of his contract.
To join brother Marc?
If Gasol returned to Memphis, it would give him the opportunity to team up with younger brother Marc and allow him to finish his career where it began. In 2001, the Grizzlies drafted Gasol with the 3rd overall draft pick. After spending six-and-a-half successful seasons in Memphis, Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007-08.
Though Gasol’s two-year stint in Chicago didn’t yield favorable results, the Spaniard has proven that he’s still capable of averaging 17 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2 blocks – his stats from the ongoing season. At 36, Gasol is still a very effective rim protector and post scorer.
With Chicago set to lose free agent Joakim Noah, too, the team is expected to hit the reset button and build the team around a new look front court. Though Gasol has expressed his interest to stay in Chicago, Bulls beat writer Danny Leroux reckons that the team wants to move on.
The Bulls could bring back either big man, but neither lines up particularly well with the younger group they have built the last few seasons,” Leroux wrote recently.
Reunion with Phil Jackson?
If not Memphis, New York is another favorable destination for Gasol. Last month, Knicks reporter Marc Berman speculated the possibility of Gasol reuniting with Phil Jackson, who he won two championships with during his years in Los Angeles.
“Gasol is a cultured, big-city guy, and money isn’t his primary concern, which bodes very well for the Knicks, according to a source. Though it’s not a clear position need with Robin Lopez and Kristaps Porzingis, the 2016 free-agent class is not deep, and Gasol represents one of Jackson’s all-time favorite players,” wrote Berman.
According to Berman, Knicks made an unsuccessful run at Gasol in 2014. “Jackson made a futile bid for Gasol during the summer of 2014, when he could only offer the mini-midlevel exception of $3.5 million. Gasol got a deal starting at close to $8 million with the Bulls, though he turned down bigger deals.”
Gasol will likely settle for a mid-level exception this time around.
Stay tuned for latest NBA Rumors.