After missing out on forward Carmelo Anthony, who re-signed with the New York Knicks, the Bulls turned their attention to Los Angeles Lakers’ big man Pau Gasol. Although the Lakers wanted Gasol back and both the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs were in pursuit, Gasol signed a three-year, $22 million deal with the Bulls.
It looked like the Bulls were ready to make reserve power forward Taj Gibson, who the Bulls gave a four-year, $38 million deal to back in 2012, a full-time started after getting rid of veteran big man Carlos Boozer. However, the Bulls reportedly promised Gasol he would start while they were courting him as a free agent. Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders believes Gasol will indeed start for the Bulls next season.
I think Pau starts. That was part of their pitch to him and he’s got seniority, I suppose. I’d still expect Taj to finish. Slot Pau for slightly more than Boozer minutes, and I think the rotation will be pretty similar to last year. I expect growing pains for Mirotic, but an injury to Pau or Noah, both of whom are injury prone, will shoot him into the rotation, too. I think there will be times when Mirotic plays a huge three, too, but we’ll see. Plenty of to work with, and the more they’re able to rest Noah, the better. All this frontcourt depth helps him more than anybody.
Gasol averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks per game last season while shooting 48.0% from the field, 28.6% from beyond the arc and 73.6% from the free throw line.