STRAIGHT FROM THE GRIZZLY’S MOUTH
So we now know why the Bulls did not make a deal for Pau Gasol. Michael Heisley is the owner of the Grizzlies, and he really doesn’t sound too happy with the Bulls. I’m not thrilled either.
Q. When did you realize that a financial deal had to be made?
A. I realized it when we tried to negotiate with Chicago. They weren’t interested in giving us financial relief. We had other conversations with teams and the people they were giving us back were veterans with substantial money left on their contracts. They were not of the same quality that Pau was.
We didn’t feel like we had a trade that was going to give us quality for quality or someone that would change the direction of the team that much. We had conversations with Chicago which were non-satisfactory. They didn’t want to take on the luxury-tax situation and Los Angeles was. In this league, if you’re in a big-market area you can afford to do those things. We negotiated as hard as we could for quality players and (Chicago) refused to give up anybody in their core group. What they offered us were guys who play on the second and third team, so we turned them down.
So there you have it. The Bulls would not take on the tax burden, nor would they give up any players of substance for Gasol. It’s ridiculous.
Say what you want about Gasol. Say he’s a tad soft, a poor defender, no postseason successes, a poor rebounder. But the Bulls have defenders and rebounders. They have no one like Pau Gasol.
He averages 19 & 9 on 50% shooting. He makes over 80% of his free throws. He blocks 1.4 shots per game. He’s a 7-footer that can get to the basket, passes well and can also spot up and shoot. He’s not perfect but he is unique.
I think maybe John Paxson has to realize every trade can’t be a ‘win’. Some of them will be even and some you might overpay. The Bulls are desperate for a player like Gasol and let him get away.
And don’t count on next year’s free agent crop either. There are some guys that could use the early term, like Elton Brand and unrestricted players like Antawn Jamison, but not too much else out there.
I am not the biggest Gasol fan. He would not make the Bulls champions this year. But they had an opportunity to really get a leg up on getting this thing straight and they missed it.