Lakers Rumors: Pau Gasol Sign-and-Trade to Bulls Would Benefit Both Sides

Pau Gasol should and will go down as one of the greatest Los Angeles Lakers players of this generation, but on Friday it became apparent that the trying marriage between the two sides is all but over. At this point, the Lakers getting out with any sort of compensation would be a huge get—a possibility should Gasol land at one of his preferred destinations, the Chicago Bulls. 

The Lakers have made it clear of their intentions to have Gasol return as a major piece of a revamped, championship-contending roster early on in free agency. But per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, he declined an offer on Friday:

LA entered free agency with the dream of bringing in prized free agent Carmelo Anthony, and that made Gasol the perceived third wheel of a Big Three consisting of him, Anthony and Kobe Bryant. 

But ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported via SportsCenter on Friday afternoon that Melo ruled the Lakers out of the running and began focusing solely on a return to New York or joining forces with Derrick Rose in Chicago.

No Anthony and no Gasol means that Friday was the day in which the Lakers' plans entering 2014-15 changed from chasing a championship to the inevitable rebuild. Bryant will never admit to it, but the roster surrounding him heading into his 19th NBA season is far from championship-contending, if even playoff-contending in the brutal West.

And with Gasol spurning his former team, suitors are lining up at the door—most notably the Bulls, per's Marc Stein:

Although he's an unrestricted free agent and can thus sign anywhere he chooses, a sign-and-trade is still possible for the Lakers to get something—anything—out of parting ways with their true franchise big man of the post-Shaquille O'Neal era. 

If Chicago ends up making the deal, the Bulls may be interested in a sign-and-trade to reliev...

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