This particular rumor comes from Bulls reporter Sam Smith. Smith reports two nuggets that caught our eye. This first was that Pau Gasol wants to play in Chicago. And the second was that Gasol and Kobe Bryant apparently hate each other.
Smith sets this whole thing up by floating the idea that Luol Deng may be a piece that the Lakers could be interested in.
There will be plenty of speculation and rumors beginning soon, so I’ll ponder some possibilities as well. And I wonder about Pau Gasol. I happened to be talking to former Bull Chet Walker the other day. He lives in Los Angeles and watches the Lakers the most. We were talking about where they go from here and he talked about how they need a small forward who can rebound, run the court, defend, make some shots, take some pressure off Kobe. It sounded a lot like Chet Walker, though maybe 40 years ago. And also sounded a lot like Luol Deng today.
Luol Deng as a piece that could help the Lakers? We can go along with that.
From there Smith ponders whether the Bulls should just use next season as throw away season and play for the lottery. But then he turns his attention to Gasol.
So here’s one possibility as I’m a fan of Gasol’s and believe his value now is as low as it ever will be given averaging 12 points on 44 percent shooting against the Thunder in the five-game loss (Andrew Bynum was right that closeouts are easy) and how badly he was used as a third and fourth perimeter option this season. Gasol averaged a career low 17.4 points per game this season even barely ever being allowed to play inside with Bynum healthy.
The interesting part, according to Lakers’ insiders, is Gasol would like to play for the Bulls. And what you hardly need any sources for is to see how he and Bryant basically can’t stand one another. It was no secret around L.A. what all those post series comments were about. “We got to be committed to each other,” said Ron Artest. “This year we wasn’t as committed collectively, and that hurt us a lot.” Said Bynum: “We just weren’t doing it together.”
That was because Bryant and Gasol were constantly at odds. And that came out several times in the playoffs with the two frequently arguing on the court and Bryant again questioning Gasol’s heart.
Now, this part is fairly obvious. Gasol and Kobe just have too very different personalities so they clash all the time. The question is though; can Gasol still be at a level to help the Bulls once Derrick Rose is healthy in 2013-2014?