(CBS) Just about everyone with an interest in the Chicago sports scene knows that star forward Carmelo Anthony is scheduled to visit the Bulls today, the first of NBA free agency.
The Bulls have been busy with much more than just planning a sales pitch for Anthony, though. Within the first 11 hours of free agency, they’ve also reportedly contacted representatives for a handful of other high-profile free agents, including Lakers big man Pau Gasol, Paul Pierce and their own free agents Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin.
First calls into Pau Gasol tonight came from Lakers, Bulls, Mavs and Warriors—
Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 01, 2014
Today all about Melo, but Bulls began casting wide net for contingency plans last nite. Contacted agents for Gasol, Pierce, Hinrich, etc.—
K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 01, 2014
The 33-year-old Gasol,a 7-foot- center, has been linked to the Bulls in years past when he was a trade chip back with the Grizzlies, and he averaged 17.4 points on 48 percent shooting and added 7.6 rebounds last season in Los Angeles. The Mavs, Lakers and Warriors have interest in him, according to Shelburne, and if the Heat strike out on other targets, Gasol could be a good fit in Miami, too.
The 36-year-old Pierce, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 rebounds last season for the Nets.
Chicago would like to re-sign either Hinrich or Augustin to back up point guard Derrick Rose, as both were key contributors on last season’s team and have expressed fondness for the organization. But, as always, it will come down to how much money those players desire and can command elsewhere. Neither is a priority at this stage for the Bulls.