NBA trade deadline buzz: Pau Gasol interested in Bulls future, not trade

Six-time All-Star center Pau Gasol holds significant interest in signing a contract extension with the Chicago Bulls this summer and has strongly resisted the idea of a trade that would turn him into a two-month rental, league sources told The Vertical.

Bulls general manager Gar Forman has been discussing trades on several fronts involving Gasol, although some teams interested in Gasol worry that his love for Chicago could cloud his motivation in fully committing to a short-term stay for the rest of the season, league sources said.

Gasol, 35, plans to decline the player option on the $7.7 million owed to him in 2016-17, but has significant interest in signing a new deal to remain with the Bulls, league sources said.

The Bulls have discussed deals with multiple NBA teams on Gasol, but one discussion lingered on Wednesday, league sources told The Vertical’s Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix: Gasol and Tony Snell to the Sacramento Kings for Kosta Koufos, Ben McLemore and a lowering of the lottery protections on the 2016 first-round pick that Sacramento owes the Bulls.

The pick is protected Nos. 1-10, but the Bulls and Kings discussed lowering the protections further to give Chicago a better chance of obtaining use of the pick in 2016, league sources told The Vertical.

The Kings reached out to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, too, league sources said, because the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings’ on the 2016 pick. The Kings wouldn’t be able to complete the deal involving the pick with Chicago unless they could reach an agreement with Philadelphia. The Sixers were preparing to ask for a further sweetener to allow the Kings to move on a deal with Chicago, league sources said.

Gasol is averaging 17 points and 10.9 rebounds for the struggling Bulls.

As the Los Angeles Clippers delay a decision on completing a deal for Orlando Magic forward Channing Frye, the Magic are becoming more motivated to move Frye to Cleveland into a trade exception, league sources told The Vertical.

Channing Frye (Getty Images)
Channing Frye (Getty Images)

The Cavaliers can absorb Frye’s $8.2 million salary into a $10.5 million trade exception.

The Clippers told the Magic they need until Thursday morning to decide on a deal that would send Frye to the Clippers for Lance Stephenson, C.J. Wilcox and a second-round pick, league sources said.

The Magic have no desire to bring back Anderson Varejao’s contract in a deal, league sources said. Varejao’s deal includes two years and nearly $19 million guaranteed. The Cavaliers are searching out teams with space, such as Philadelphia and Portland, which could take on Varejao’s contract as part of a three-team trade, league sources said.

Those teams would likely be compensated with draft considerations and cash to take on Varejao. For this reason, the Cavaliers won’t take on Frye without finding a home for Varejao’s deal: Those two contracts together on Cleveland’s roster would push the team’s luxury tax bill from $61 million to nearly $96 million in 2016.

The Clippers have been exploring other trade possibilities that include Stephenson’s contract.

Stephenson would never play a game for the Magic. Orlando plans to waive Stephenson – or trade him – if he’s acquired from the Clippers, league sources said. For Orlando, that deal would mostly allow the team to save money on the final year of Frye’s $8.2 million annual salary.

The New Orleans Pelicans are pushing hard to find a trade for forward Ryan Anderson, whom they expect to lose in summer free agency, league sources said.

Teams trading for Anderson believe he'll command a starting salary of $16 million-$18 million a season in free agency.

New Orleans and Detroit had serious talks on an Anderson deal in the past few days, sources said, but the Pistons ultimately reached an agreement with Orlando on a trade for Tobias Harris on Tuesday.

The Pelicans are struggling to get back significant value in a trade for Anderson. Washington has talked with New Orleans on a deal, sources said, but paying Anderson the $16 million-plus he can get on the market this summer would preclude the Wizards from clearing the max salary space it needs to pursue Kevin Durant.

The issue for the Pistons – and several teams around the league interested in Anderson – remains this: How much will it cost to re-sign Anderson this summer in free agency? With Harris, the Pistons have cost-certainty on the three-years, $48 million on his deal through the 2018-'19 season.

There were discussions recently where Detroit could've ended up with Anderson, and New Orleans with Harris, but those discussions dissolved in recent days, league sources said.

Detroit had been pursuing a bigger deal with Harris and Orlando guard Evan Fournier, but Orlando didn't want to move Fournier, sources said.

Ricky Rubio (Getty Images)
Ricky Rubio (Getty Images)

Minnesota hasn't been actively searching for a trade for point guard Ricky Rubio this week, but that is likely to change this summer, league sources told The Vertical.

Minnesota may start canvassing the market for a better shooting point guard to pair with young stars Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. One NBA coach who has long been enamored with Rubio, league sources said: Milwaukee's Jason Kidd. The New York Knicks' desire to find a point guard could lead them to Rubio, too.

Minnesota has wanted to move guard Kevin Martin, but a deal is unlikely unless he's willing to forgo the $7 million player option on the final year of his contract in 2016-2017, league sources said. That is unlikely, given that Martin would be hard-pressed to recoup that money on the market.

Denver's Randy Foye has gathered significant traction as a veteran guard for teams, league sources told The Vertical. He's been a tremendous locker room presence for the Nuggets, who won't easily part with him. … Washington could revisit talks with Milwaukee on center Miles Plumlee closer to Thursday's deadline, should the Bucks be unable to find a larger deal on the market, sources said.

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