Could former rival Pau Gasol end up in green?
As a Boston Celtics fan, Bulls center Pau Gasol leaves a lasting image in our collective minds for better or worse. Whether thoughts of his first season as a Laker resurface, where the C’s captured their 17th title against him as our biggest rival’s starting center in 2008, or the heartbreaking 2010 NBA Finals where the Celts lost a thriller in seven games.
At age 35, Pau Gasol could be looking for a job in the near future.
ESPN's Nick Friedell believes the 15 year veteran may be on his way out of Chicago after the Bulls failed to make the playoffs, and he is reportedly upset with the way his team has finished out the year. Gasol has the ability to opt out of his contract this season, and wide speculation is that he will do just that, testing the free agency waters for the second time in three years.
According to the K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls are expected to re-sign center Joakim Noah to a long term deal, whereas before the consensus was that Gasol would re-sign with the team this offseason even with opting out of his contract.
Via Johnson, Gasol said:
"Nothing is set right now. I will evaluate what I need to when the time comes," Gasol said Thursday night in Miami. "The way the team has responded to adversity and finished up the season has been disappointing.
With the Bulls and Gasol appearing ready to part ways, the 7-footer out of Barcelona, Spain will likely look to sign with a contender this offseason to hopefully add another title ring to his trophy case before retiring.
The Celtics are poised to have a major offseason with the cap space to bring in two max contracts, along with a potential top three draft pick and two other first round choices at their disposal, and because of this, Gasol may see Boston as a great fit.
The Celtics will likely look to add major help to the front court after inconsistency in the paint this season, and after mutual interest near the trade deadline, Hawks forward/center Al Horford will likely be one of the first players called to fill that void. With or without Horford, if Gasol has something left in the tank, there could be significant interest in him coming in as a major role player next season for the Green.
Despite turning 36 in July, Gasol has been extremely productive in his 2015-16 campaign, averaging 16.5 PPG, 11 RPG, 2 BPG, along with a 21.78 PER. After Joakim Noah injured his shoulder in December, Gasol jumped right in and became a consistent low-post threat with the ability to step out and hit the mid-range jumper. On top of his scoring success, he proved yet again he is still a capable defender on the post, averaging two blocks per contest. If he is able to contribute anything near that as a Celtic, it would be a home run signing for the franchise.
With the C’s being one of the youngest teams in the NBA, bringing in a seasoned, yet capable veteran like Gasol would be an excellent compliment to a squad looking for a shot at the Finals. If Boston adds a star or two to the roster in addition to bringing in Gasol to add front court depth, the team would easily become a favorite in the Eastern Conference next season.
For more Celtics news, follow Jack Pilgrim's Twitter account: @Jack_Pilgrim.