Adding former Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol to the mix appears to show the Chicago Bulls have every intention of winning in 2014-15.
Former MVP point guard Derrick Rose is reportedly healthy after missing most of the last two years with various knee injuries and adding Rose and Gasol to a team that went 48-34 without their floor leader last year is cause to give fans a promising outlook for the season ahead.
Essentially, Los Angeles and Chicago swapped forwards, with Carlos Boozer signing with the Lakers while Gasol joined the Bulls.
However, at age 34, Gasol will be with Chicago through his age 37 season – begging the question of whether or not the deal was a smart one by the Chicago front office.
For Gasol’s part, he feels he and the team are championship-caliber (ESPN).
“Money obviously wasn’t the priority here,” said Gasol, who was introduced by the Bulls on Friday at the United Center. “I turned down bigger offers, and I prioritized being on a championship-caliber team and being in a position where I can hopefully put that team over the top with my game, as well. I felt that here, I was going to have that opportunity, and now it’s just a matter of getting to work.”
Last season, the Spanish big man experienced a rejuvenation of sorts after a disappointing 2012-13 campaign with the Lakers, in which he averaged just 13.7 points per contest – the lowest mark of his career. The bounce back campaign is extremely promising for Chicago, because prior to his 2013-14 performance, some were questioning home much Gasol had left in the tank after over a dozen years in the league.
Gasol gives Chicago a legitimate scoring option down low alongside MVP candidate Joakim Noah, who emerged as one of the best front court players in the entire league last season. Gasol has the ability to shoot mid-range jump shots, spreading out the floor and giving Rose more room to work.
If Gasol produces as he has offensively and brings his presence to the paint, the Bulls could very well be a favorite in the Eastern Conference next season.