Latest On Pau Gasol Trade
On paper, the Chicago Bulls are more or less interchangeable with the Cleveland Cavaliers as the Eastern Conference's top squad. In reality, they're one loss and a Pistons win away from being the ninth-seed. That's how bad they've been bitten by the injury bug this year. Mike Dunleavy, who shot .401 from three over 63 games last season, has played a grand total of 43 minutes this season, and Joakim Noah -- who's getting paid $13 million the final year of his contract -- has been a shell of his former All-Star self in the 29 games he was healthy enough to suit up.
Then, of course, you have Derrick Rose, who's been healthy enough to average the team's second-most minutes per game, but his numbers tell the story of a player who isn't 100-percent (or he sucks now).
Outside of Jimmy Butler's career year, Fred Hoiberg has had to dig deep into the team's (particularly deep) bench to stay in playoff contention, which has worked to some extent, but the unsung hero of their season has undoubtedly been Pau Gasol, who's logged the team's second-most minutes played as a 35-year-old. Trading him for anything less than an upgrade would be tantamount to throwing in the towel for the remaining 30 games. According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, that might actually be happening, as the parts being discussed in reported talks with the Sacramento Kings are markedly less impactful than Pau Gasol is in a Bulls uniform.
I'm told Bulls and Kings still discussing potential trade: Pau Gasol and Tony Snell for Kosta Koufas and Ben McLemore
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 18, 2016
Broussard has clarified that the deal is unlikely, but the fact remains that Chicago knows something needs to happen if they plan on playing past April, and although Pau Gasol has performed like future Hall-of-Famer Pau Gasol thus far, general manager Gar Forman can't feel good about relying so heavily on a pair of knees that have seen 36,474 minutes of NBA game time over the last 11 years. It'd be naive to think he's looking at his current roster and not considering a rebuild around Jimmy Butler.
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