Coming into the offseason, there has been a lot of hope for the Chicago Bulls‘ faithful around the world. First, they were finally prepared to use their amnesty on the underachieving Carlos Boozer. Then, they were able to be one of the top candidates to land prized free agent Carmelo Anthony. But if the team is not able to acquire Anthony this summer, several reports have indicated that Pau Gasol is the Bulls’ second target in free agency.
This just doesn’t make sense.
Sixth man Taj Gibson was already told by the team that he will be starting next season in the place of Boozer. Gibson has shown that he is capable of closing games and will finally get the opportunity to start after coming off of 13-point, six-rebound season averages in a reserve role. Sure, Gasol averaged a solid and steady 17 points and nine rebounds for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, but that was on a miserable team that was in its beginning stages of rebuilding.
And did I mention that Gasol is a terrible defender? Yes, averaging 17 points on paper looks pleasing to any basketball fan in the world; however, if Gasol is giving up 25-30 points a game in the paint, his own points per game average is meaningless. Just ask critics of Boozer over the past four years.
Playing on the slow-paced Bulls might also hurt his production overall as well. It definitely hurt Boozer when he was averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds with the Utah Jazz during the 2009-10 season while shooting 56 percent from the field. That number dipped to 17 points and nine rebounds with a 51 percent shooting average just one season later with the Bulls. Boozer’s numbers, along with his confidence scoring the ball, dwindled every season on top of that. Gasol could easily fall into the same trap as Boozer.
And did I mention that Gasol is getting pretty old? Although being 34 years old isn’t anything in the real world, being that age while playing professional basketball is almost a death sentence. He might as well be preparing for a quality nursing home to live in, while selecting his favorite brand of adult diapers to put on. In all seriousness, it won’t be long until Gasol is bothered by nagging injuries and finally surrenders to retirement. Essentially, that has already been the case for Gasol who has missed at least 17-plus games since the 2010-11 season. With Derrick Rose virtually out for two years with knee issues, more injured players is the last thing the Bulls need.
For the Bulls, it would be wise if they avoided Gasol for the rest of the free agency period this summer. He might still have a little left in his tank, but it would be best if he didn’t come to Chicago as a member of the team next season.