(CBS) As they wait on Carmelo Anthony’s decision, the Bulls have worked on a number of contingency plans in case they swing and miss on their main priority.
Of those other options, acquiring big man Pau Gasol is Plan B. And it appears Chicago is in a good place — at least for the time being.
The Bulls and Thunder “lead the way” for Gasol’s services, Yahoo Sports’Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday afternoon.
The Spurs and Lakers also remain interested in Gasol, who averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds last season while shooting 48 percent. He’s a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers.
The Bulls met with Gasol last Thursday in Los Angeles, and he met with the Thunder yesterday, according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin.
While Chicago already has a solid tandem down low in Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson, the chase for Gasol is a nod toward the team’s need for more finishers/playmakers. Even at 34, the 7-foot Gasol remains versatile offensive talent, with an array of back-to-the basket post moves, the ability to knock down the 17-footer and adept passing skills for a man of his size. He brings a skill set different from that of Noah and Gibson.
If the Bulls miss out on Anthony, use the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer and renounce their free agents, they’d have around $11 million of cap space to work with. That’s more than the reported $5 million or so that the Thunder can offer Gasol. The Lakers have ample cap space as well to make a competitive offer.