In one of the more surprising stories before Thursday's NBA trade deadline, the Chicago Bulls are reportedly "aggressively" shopping All-Star power forward Pau Gasol. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports' The Vertical, the Bulls are seeking value in return.
Gasol will reportedly decline the player option on the $7.4 million owed him at the end of the season. In January, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Bulls had more interest in re-signing the veteran than trading him.
K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune reports Chicago is looking for a rotation player and a first-round pick in exchange for Gasol. With Joakim Noah sidelined for the season, and Nikola Mirotic out since Jan. 25, Chicago would be without a legitimate big man if Forman decides to deal Gasol.
Gasol's number have dipped this season. He is shooting 47.9 percent from the field, compared to his 51.1 percent career average. Gasol has also seen a drop in minutes this season, from 34.4 in 2014-2015 to 31.9 after 49 games this season.
But overall, Gasol has been a solid contributor for Chicago. He is second in points per game (17.0), and leads the team in rebounds (10.9) and blocks (1.98). The 35-year-old is in his second season with the Bulls, after winning two titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Suffering injuries to Noah, Mirotic and Jimmy Butler, the Bulls went into the All-Star break losing six of their last seven games. Chicago’s 27-25 record has them as the No.7 seed in the East, and they are just one-game ahead of the No.9 seed Detroit Pistons.
The Bulls are reportedly willing to trade Taj Gibson for the same asking price. Gibson has one year remaining on his contract worth just under $9 million. The power forward is averaging 8.0 points, and 7.2 rebounds in 26.5 minutes per game for Chicago.