Sounds like you're planning to come back to take my job. Or Paxson's. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the discussion going on internally with the Bulls: Make a bold move now and take a shot at the Finals, or be patient with the Heat and Pistons fading, get the Knicks' pick, let the rookies develop and maybe have a great six or seven-year run. Lots of second guessing each way they go, which should make the next month very interesting. I'd probably make the deal, but that's what I do.
If the Bulls do make the deal, there'll be a lot of scrutiny, and anyone who reads these emails knows Bulls fans can be unforgiving. The problem for Pau is he will no longer be under the radar in Chicago. The Memphis thing was always a nice little overachieving story and whatever he did was admired. If he comes to the Bulls, the demands will be there for him to produce and the team to win. The thing we've always heard about him is he's a little mentally weak and doesn't defend with much passion. Is that Spanish passion thing a myth? Sometimes, as the saying goes here, you better watch what you ask for because you might get it. And then what do you do?
I don't think it would be a good idea to get Pau Gasol for a couple of reasons. First, the Bulls would have to give up more than they would get. The Bulls would be better off waiting for a free agent in order to get a power forward. Second, trading for Gasol would be a desperation move, not only because of what the Bulls would have to give up, but also because they'd have to try to fit Gasol into their style of offense and fit their offense to fit him. This would be OK in the off-season, but not now. Finally, Gasol is not much of a defensive player. With Ben Gordon, also a defensive liability, a major part of the offense, the Bulls can't afford another weak defensive player who would also play a large portion of the games. --Jeff Hoffman, San Francisco
That would be plan B. If they get knocked out in the first round, which they could this season with this team, that plan would be condemned. It's nice to be patient and have a long view, but it's tough to live every day with. The Curry/Chandler plan was long term, and those first few seasons were awfully difficult to watch. The Bulls are way past that, but if you are this close can you afford not to take a shot? Look what Detroit did with Rasheed Wallace. The Bulls got Ben Wallace to do something now in a weak Eastern Conference. The defense point with Gasol and Gordon is significant, which is why Garnett might fit better. After 44 the other night, it's hard to believe they'll move him before the summer. Though Gasol is a better inside scorer than Garnett, and the Bulls need that. Why does this have to be so difficult?
I hope Paxson does not forget the position Memphis is in when dealing Gasol. They are dumping a long-term expensive contract used on a guy who only plays half the floor. Gasol as a free agent at his money might be worth it but one would think about it. Giving up the cash and good, young players seems foolish. I know Deng, Gordon and Nocioni are due for big raises. Is there a realistic scenario where the Bulls could afford to keep them all? --Mike, Paris, France
That is one issue, the extensions. There are situations where they can re-sign everyone, but it remains in question and one issue with obtaining a player like Gasol is thinning out the roster of young talent without contracts. The problem Memphis will have is as players come on the market because they want out, the offers decline, like with Iverson and back with Barkley. I believe the Grizzlies promised to deal Gasol, but if everyone low-balls them they'll keep him and deal him in the summer when more teams could be involved. Memphis gets huge salary relief for Eddie Jones' expiring contract, so maybe they won't be desperate. It's the poker game Paxson is now in and Jerry West always has been known as a good bluffer.
While I think that Gordon and Deng still have upside while Hinrich has peaked, I don't know who will run the if they traded Hinrich. Duhon isn't durable enough to be a full time starting point, and it's very difficult to obtain quality point guards with a pass-first mentality. If the Bulls do trade for Gasol they'll likely give up draft picks, making getting a new point guard nearly impossible. I'd love to see Gasol in a Bulls uniform but I think the Bulls should wait for the trade deadline when Memphis will feel pressure to trade. I hope the expiring contracts of PJ Brown and Malik Allen, as well as the Knicks' first round pick and Nocioni may do the trick to get Pau. --Bobby, Brooklyn, N.Y.
That is the salient point regarding Kirk that many seem to forget. Overall, no one runs the team better and he was great against the Heat Saturday. It may not be perfect and sometimes he may not make the right decision. And, right, especially if the Bulls include this year's pick it will be difficult to replace Hinrich, perhaps more so than Deng given that the Bulls have Nocioni. They don't have a replacement for Kirk. It's what makes this difficult and I don't see Memphis giving him away for just spare parts and picks. But when you have the league's worst record and second lowest attendance, I'm not sure what they are doing.
As a lifelong Bulls fan living in Memphis, I can tell you that the Bulls should take a pass on Gasol. He's soft. He's a whiner. I can't tell you how many times I've watched the other team score an easy layup while Gasol stands under the opposing basket jawing with a ref about a no-call. Even if it takes the Bulls an extra year to progress in the playoffs, I wouldn't trade any of the three players you mentioned -- Ben Gordon, Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich -- in a one-for-one deal for Gasol. Let Boston overpay and send a boatload of talented players and/or picks to the Western Conference. --Eric Page, Memphis, Tenn.
Wow! I'm still on board on the Gasol deal, but I am backing off somewhat on those three. The unknown is how desperate they are to deal Gasol or will become as it gets closer to the deadline. I know there are issues with him, which is what I presume they will discover. The question will come down to whether Memphis wants to go in a different direction with athletic youth and their draft. The Bulls can supply those types of players without hurting their core. Yes, a closer examination of Gasol reveals plenty of blemishes, but he would help the Bulls, at least in my opinion.
Do you think we become a lot better sending Nocioni, Duhon, Thomas and the Knicks' pick to Memphis for Gasol? Yes, our starting five looks improved but we lose depth. I say hold back and don't part with our big three for Gasol. If Memphis get a better offer then so be it, if not they may say yes to that trade. They could end up getting Oden to play with Swift, Nocioni, Miller, Duhon, a solid rookie with the Knicks' pick and Gay/Thomas as their core eight. That could be a pretty short rebuilding process. --Graham Austin, U.K.
Yes, looking at it from Memphis's point of view, they probably are better off taking some building blocks because they might not be that far off with their pick and if they get the Knicks' pick from the Bulls with Bulls protection in case it is No. 1 or 2. This Gasol thing is going to hang over them and the history of such things is you can't start moving forward until you make a move.
I don't get the Chicago fans. They express so much disbelief that the Bulls ought to give up Kirk Hinrich for Pau Gasol. Excuse me, but I would give up Kirk Hinrich to get Eddie Jones, much less an All-Star power forward like Gasol. I can understand the Bulls' reluctance to give up either Gordon or Deng, but after those two top players there is a dramatic drop-off in the level of talent that the Bulls have. I think for the deal to be interesting for the Grizz, we would need at least Hinrich, Nocioni, Thomas, Brown, and your first pick. Even then, I think there are much better deals in the NBA. --Guy, Memphis, Tenn.
This is what the Grizzlies are going to find: There are not many great deals. Look what the 76ers got for Iverson, who has more value than Gasol. Let's be realistic about Gasol. He would help the Bulls because he fills a need, but he couldn't help Memphis win one playoff game in 12 shots. He moans every summer about how bad things are for him back in the Spanish press and returns to say he was misquoted. He is the highest paid player, misses half the season and then asks out because he doesn't like the way things are going. He needs the support of better players and veterans, so not too many teams are going to offer too much for him. The Bulls are in the unique position to surround him with what he needs without giving up too much. Hinrich was on the USA Basketball team last summer, which Gasol might not have made. Beside the fact he is on the Spanish team, of course.
name: Bryce T. Englin city: Cairo, Egypt email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In all these trade scenarios for a top-notch player like KG or Pau, we will have to give up at least one of Kirk, Gordon, and Deng. Why not just go after Emeka Okafor? He is a valuable post player like Horace Grant, with a decent offensive game, and good defensive skills. Charlotte must be looking to dump salaries, and also has a similar player in Sean May. Take your pick from PJ, Duhon, Khryapa for this trade, though PJ's salary will need some creative accounting for. --K.G. Anand, St. Paul, Minn.
The reason there's so much talk about Gasol and Garnett is some level of dissatisfaction from the player, either Gasol's desire to be traded or Garnett having an opt out after next season and probably walking away on them. So you have teams looking to minimize the loss. Okafor has hardly proven himself yet and Charlotte has him two more seasons after this guaranteed and relatively cheap. So there's no reason for them to make a deal.