Derrick Rose has let it be known to Bulls management that we wants to play with Pau Gasol if Chicago is able to swing a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for the veteran power forward from Spain, a source close to Rose told SheridanHoops.com on Sunday.
The Spanish news outlet Marca was the first to report Sunday that Rose has given his blessing for the Bulls to go after Gasol with a package that would be centered around Carlos Boozer and another player.
“He hasn’t said so publicly, but he has made that known privately,” said the source, who spoke to SheridanHoops.com on condition of anonymity.
Gasol has been the subject of trade speculation all season after the Lakers were ready to ship him to the Houston Rockets in the three-way trade vetoed by commissioner David Stern that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers. Gasol has acknowledged that is impossible to ignore the rumors, especially given the fact that Los Angeles had already deemed him expendable.
Boozer has three years and $46 million remaining on his contract, while Gasol is due to make $38 million over the next two seasons.
The Lakers have an $8.9 million trade exception from the Lamar Odom trade that they could use to acquire a player making up to that amount without surrendering much (it could be as little as a conditional second-round pick) in return, which gives general manager Mitch Kupchak enormous flexibility in trying to improve a Lakers team that has struggled offensively all season.
If the Bulls were willing to surrender backup point guard C.J. Watson in a Boozer-Gasol deal, it would address the Lakers’ need for a young, steady point guard to buttress their current rotation of Derek Fisher and Steve Blake.
But Chicago has been leaning heavily on Watson as Rose has missed five consecutive games with back spasms (he is listed questionable for Monday, coach Tom Thibodeau said after practice Sunday), and journeyman Mike James is their only other playmaker.