Gasol ends successful spell in Los Angeles and looks ahead to new challenge.
The Chicago Bulls have agreed to sign free-agent center Pau Gasol on a multi-year deal and the Spaniard took to Twitter to reveal his delight at the news.
It hasn't been easy. After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) July 12, 2014
It is understood that talks over a sign-and-trade deal broke down between the two organisations, and so unless the Bulls can work a last-minute agreement they will have to make changes on their roster in order to free up enough cap-space.
Should they fail to find a suitable deal involving Carlos Boozer, it is likely that they will release him via the amnesty provision in order to clear his $16.8m salary off their books in order to make room for their new arrival.
Chicago’s move to sign Gasol comes after it emerged that Carmelo Anthony had begun negotiations with the New York Knicks to re-sign with the franchise.
The 30-year-old had been the Bulls’ primary target this free agency, and they were reportedly in the mix up until the final decision was reached with Anthony assessing his options and looking at which team gave him the best opportunity to win.
However, his love for New York as a city as well as the team has prevailed, and he will remain at Madison Square Garden next season in the hope that team president Phil Jackson can now build a competitive roster around him in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Chicago are also now expected to move forward with their plans to sign 2011 first-round draft pick Nikola Mirotic after he reached a buyout agreement with Real Madrid last week.
Having been tipped to make the move to the NBA for the last two years, Mirotic is now likely to be added to the roster to bolster an already intimidating front-court for Chicago, with the likes of Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson already available.
Mirotic has been a consistent performer in Europe over the past two seasons, and the Bulls have maintained their commitment towards him and will hope he can make a successful transition to the NBA if a deal is agreed.
Nevertheless, the biggest boost for the franchise at this stage is the arrival of Gasol, who will undoubtedly add to coach Tom Thibodeau’s defensive solidity but also provide a vital scoring option that the Bulls have been lacking.
It was felt that that void would be filled by Anthony, but with point guard Derrick Rose returning from injury as well as the development of Jimmy Butler and the emergence of Tony Snell and rookie Doug McDermott, the Bulls will feel as though they have the pieces in place to make a genuine run for an NBA championship next season.