It appears Pau Gasol indeed will take his chances on the open market.
The Chicago Bulls center has notified his club he will decline his player option for the 2016-17 season and enter free agency, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported Monday, citing sources.
Many expected Gasol to opt out of the final year of his three-year deal, but if the Bulls don’t re-sign him, he’ll be the second big-name player to depart Chicago, as the team traded Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in a blockbuster deal last week.
So, where will the 35-year-old center end up? Gasol is a very good offensive player and a strong rim protector, having averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game last season. Those qualities could make him an intriguing target for the Boston Celtics, who need both scoring and rim protection in their frontcourt and likely need to add other big names if they want any shot at superstar forward Kevin Durant.
It seems unlikely Gasol would sign in Boston, however. The six-time All-Star is at the back end of his career and likely will want to play a complementary role on a serious contender that can provide him with one more championship, such as the San Antonio Spurs or Golden State Warriors.
Gasol’s high price tag also might not be worth the risk for a Celtics team that still will be a few seasons away from contention if it’s unable to land Durant this offseason.
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