Peter Vescey in New York gets the huge Grizzlies story...
GASOL, ONCE UNTOUCHABLE, CAN SUDDENLY BE HAD. We have talked about on the show that he looks like he wants to be traded. Don't kill the messenger on this, Vescey, instead focus on the message. I love it when people say that Vescey never gets anything right and forget who broke the Iverson being traded story, etc, etc. Again, you don't become Peter Vescey by getting everything wrong. I absolutely believe this. Make it happen Jerry. Vescey writes...
January 21, 2007 -- EARLIER this season, I revealed Boston had offered Memphis its choice of any combination of Celtics for Pau Gasol. Michael Heisley, a lame-duck owner at the time whose pending sale of the team recently ruptured, responded by anointing the franchise forward "untouchable."
Well, guess what, Heisley's uncompromising stance has been rewritten on dust in the wind.
Sources throughout the NBA disclose the 7-foot Gasol, an elite post-up performer, as tough a cover as there is within 15 feet of the rim, suddenly is eminently obtainable. Distressed at management's rebuilding-with-adolescence mood, the 271/2-year-old has asked to be traded to a playoff-positioned ensemble that, of course, would be instantly transformed into a legit title contender.
The offended Grizzlies aim to oblige.
I put this out there with utter certainty. Infallible informers report Grizzlies president Jerry West has explored prospective trade arrangements with at least three teams regarding Gasol. In order to protect my sources, the only one I'm willing to identify for the time being is the Bulls.
That may be enough. Obviously, Gasol's low-dock dealing (averaged 18.5 points on 50.5 field-goal accuracy his first five seasons as a pro before missing most of this season due to foot surgery) is what Chicago's off-shore drilling outfit needs.
The Bulls also own what Memphis wants, namely Luol Deng ($2.6 million) and Ben Gordon ($3.86M). In order to satisfy salary/transaction specs, Chicago would have to include P.J. Brown ($8.56M).
I'm told the Grizzlies are prepared to add Hakim Warrick ($1.2M) to a pot that so far does not include draft picks; Gasol currently is on the books for $12.8M and is owed $63M over the next four seasons.
That's as far as the exchange of ideas has progressed, so I'm told. As enthralled as Bulls vice president John Paxson surely must be by the opportunity to fill his team's lone conspicuous cavity, people in the organization claim he won't pull that particular trigger.
"Giving up Gordon and Deng would be very difficult," a Bulls insider insisted. "John will never go there. Not even if Scott Skiles and the rest of the coaching staff is beating on him to make that swap, which isn't the case."
As rapper DMX woofs, "Bad decisions lead to last decisions." Parting with the pair might prove to be just that bad, the same Bulls insider feels.
"Does Pau get you to the promised land minus both those players? We doubt it. He's an All-Star-caliber player, no question. But we're not sure he can be the best player on a playoff team expected to accomplish something significant," the insider said.
If the Bulls go strictly by what the Grizzlies failed to accomplish (0-12) in three straight playoff trips with Gasol as their leading scorer (20 ppg), I suppose that answers that. Rather than surrender both Gordon and Deng, I suspect Paxson prefers to roll the dice and hope inside force Tyrus Thomas matures faster than your average NBA toddler.
But don't misunderstand; this negotiation is only in its infancy. What's more, now that Gasol's availability is public, the bidding for his services figures to take a quantum leap.
Oh, I cannot wait. How funny that we find out in the NY Post.
This is the best news I have heard in a long time.