Pau Gasol had his pick of suitors two summers ago, and it looks like he’s keeping his options open for next summer as well.
Per CSN Chicago’s Vincent Goodwill, Gasol says it’s “very likely” he’ll opt out rather than lock in a third year for the Bulls that would pay him close to $8 million
Gasol, despite problems defensively and on the glass, has vastly outperformed that deal thus far, serving a pillar of reliability in a turbulent 2015 season for Chicago in which Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson struggled mightily with injuries.
As for this year, both the eye test and the advanced numbers suggest a decline in effectiveness, which had to be expected after taking on such a burden last season. Even so, with the impending cap rise, Gasol can be expected to easily fetch a two deal with a higher average annual value than what he’s making now, even at his advanced age (he’ll turn 36 in the summer). It’s pretty much a can’t lose situation for him.
From Chicago’s perspective, this isn’t exactly unexpected due to the aforementioned factors, but it does crystallize the uncertainty of next offseason for them. Whereas this year it made sense to bring the same roster back and see if the combination of a coaching change and improved health might do the trick, 2016 figures to bring change. Gasol and Joakim Noah will hit the market (although Goodwill also reports the Bulls are interested in keeping Gasol in the fold even if he opts out), and they should have a better idea of what they’ve got in Derrick Rose now that’s he’s fully removed from rehabbing, as well as how to shape the roster under Fred Hoiberg going forward.