Earlier today, a report surfaced claiming that the Lakers were, once again, listening to offers for their talented Spaniard.
Then, on Bill Simmons’ podcast that was released just hours later, Simmons suggested the trade of Pau Gasol and Steve Blake to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer. Simmons was apparently just plucking an idea out of the air as he thought it would make sense for both teams, yet ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne, who was a guest on Simmons’ show, said that he actually might be on to something:
SHELBURNE: I think you’re probably on the right track with that, Bill. I like the trade for both teams.
What you do essentially is give Pau a chance to have a different team – first of all, I don’t know how [Tom Thibodeau] is going to react to him defensively – but I think Derrick Rose clearly needs a number two. He needs another guy on that roster who can score. This year’s out the window but you give Pau a chance to establish himself there. I know he wants to get to a place where the team is invested in him.
It would make sense for Chicago, it would make sense for the Lakers.
The one thing the Lakers are doing though, every single trade they talk about has to maintain their flexibility in 2014, ’15 and ’16, so that trade, in a lot of ways, make sense as Luol Deng becomes the guy you got in 2014. You’re probably not going to have to give him a max spot, which leaves you a little more room to go after somebody at the mid-level and you maintain your flexibility in 2015 and ’16 because Boozer comes off the books next year.
It makes a lot of sense, and I think it’s probably what both teams are discussing right now.
SIMMONS: Oh! I just made that up on the spot. You think that’s a real trade?
SHELBURNE: I think so.
This isn’t the first time that Gasol has been linked to the Bulls, and at first glance you’d imagine that Chicago would no longer be interested in his services.
However, with the Bulls possibly preparing to let Deng walk this coming summer, it could be worth them taking a shot on Gasol and, in the process, free themselves from the last year of Boozer’s deal without using the one-time amnesty provision.
The Lakers would lose the majority of their cap space this coming summer if they decided to re-sign Deng (who’ll probably be a target of theirs anyway) but, with Boozer’s deal expiring in 2015, the purple and gold would probably still have enough room to chase Kevin Love in the 2015 off-season.