The Chicago Bulls have lost out on Carmelo Anthony but it doesn’t mean their offseason has to be a failure. Missing on Anthony, who decided to go back to the New York Knicks, is a blow, but if the Bulls can complete the signing of Pau Gasol, it will be enough to make 2014 NBA free agency a success for Chicago.
Missing on Anthony cannot be understated. He is an elite scorer and his presence on the Bulls would have made them the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. However, if the Bulls are able to finalize a deal with Gasol, it will give them a tremendous consolation prize.
Often times when teams miss a player in free agency, they end up overpaying for someone with lesser talent and end up regretting it down the road. Yet, that is not the case with Gasol, who is still an All-Star-caliber player at 34 years of age.
Despite being on a awful Los Angeles Lakers team last season, Gasol still put up impressive numbers, averaging 17.4 PPG on 48 percent shooting to go along with 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
The Bulls will get their money’s worth by signing the two-time NBA champion, who’s still an extremely skilled and versatile player. He is a tremendous low-post scorer, has a deadly mid-range game, does a decent job of getting himself to the free-throw line and is an outstanding passer as evidenced by his 3.4 assists per game last season.
Gasol’s multi-faceted skill set will fit perfectly with the Bulls and if Derrick Rose is healthy, Chicago will finally have a deadly pick-and-roll duo. The Spaniards shooting ability coupled with Rose’s explosiveness will force defenses into a tough decision; one they never had to make when Carlos Boozer and his weird high-arching jumper was the other option.
Gasol would also team with Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson to form arguably the best frontcourt in the NBA. Noah, who averaged 5.4 assists last season, will be deadly teaming with Gasol. The move will also allow Gibson to remain in the sixth-man role, where he has been so effective.
It’s true that the Bulls still need a wing player that can score and create some offense, but at the end of the day, Chicago was better investing in an All-Star-caliber player than overpaying someone like Trevor Ariza or Lance Stephenson just to fill a position of need. If you are going to spend money in free agency, it should be on high-end talent and Gasol is exactly that.
If the signing becomes official, the Bulls would be adding a healthy Rose, Gasol and lottery pick Doug McDermott to a 48-win team that boasts three of the best defenders in the league in Noah, Gibson and Jimmy Butler. Those six players provide the Bulls with a very good core group to build around and one that that has the talent to compete for an NBA championship next season.