Lakers lose Gasol to Bulls but might net assets in Sign and Trade

(Photo: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers will lose Pau Gasol, that is no longer in question. The Lakers might be able to salvage their loss by getting something of value in return for the 7 foot, former All-Star.

It is being reported that Gasol is in contract discussions with the Chicago Bulls who are capped out at the moment and without making some moves would only be able to offer exception money. Taking into consideration that Gasol turned down a contract from the Lakers in the neighborhood of 10 million per year, it doesn’t appear that he is open to taking a massive pay cut, therefore, exception money will not cut it.

With Bulls’ ownership against the idea of using the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer, which would allow them to waive Boozer and remove his salary from the cap but would still be on the hook for his 16.8 million contract, they are reportedly seeking a sign and trade with the Lakers for Gasol.

The Lakers will likely seek a future draft pick from the Bulls in a sign and trade deal. The Bulls still have their 1st round draft picks from 2015 and beyond; in addition, they own the Sacramento Kings 2015 first round pick which they obtained in trade with the Cleveland Cavs in the Luol Deng deal earlier this past season. The Kings’s pick is top 10 protected until 2017 where it becomes a 2nd round pick if not cashed in by that point. The Bulls also have the option of swapping their 2015 first round pick with the Cavs as long as it is not a lottery picks which it will very likely not be with James now in the fold.

It would behoove the Lakers to get a 2017 draft pick from the Bulls as it would allow them some flexibility with their own first round picks if they are trying to put an attractive trade package to land a big name player, such as Kevin Love. NBA rules are that an NBA team cannot have consecutive seasons without a first round picks. As it stands now, the Lakers own first round draft picks in 2015 (Houston’s), 2016, 2018 and beyond, which makes only their 2015 and 2019 first round picks eligible for trade. If they are able to acquire a 2017 first round pick, they would then be able to package first round draft picks in every other year starting with their newly acquired 2015 first round pick from Houston. Hypothetically, the Lakers could package three first round picks, starting in 2015, plus newly drafted Julius Randle, forming a very strong trade package for a team, if they are able to acquire a 2017 first round pick.

The Gasol is fluid and moving quickly. Whether its Gasol signing for a significant pay cut, Bulls waiving Boozer to open up space to sign Gasol or a sign and trade with the Lakers, we’ll know soon.

– Fern Rea

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Writer & NBA fan who’s been hooked since the days of Magic v Bird. Love basketball debates without it ending in a knife fight. My BBall nickname: “Todo El Dia” (All Day.) Hit me up on Twitter @fullcourtfern or Instagram: @raining3sdotcom