The Sacramento Kings are pursuing Chicago Bulls big man Pau Gasol, according to the latest report from The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Mannix. The Kings would also receive Tony Snell, and would send Ben McLemore and Kosta Koufos to the Bulls.
The Bulls have discussed deals with multiple NBA teams on Gasol, but one discussion lingered on Tuesday, 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.
There are a few interesting elements to this rumor. Tony Snell makes sense for the Kings, as he should improve the perimeter defense. Gasol, meanwhile, is a little more perplexing. He's an expiring contract, and is a far worse defender than Koufos. Despite a decline in play over the past few years, he's still a very good offensive weapon.
I'm tempted to say that this leak could be coming from Chicago, trying to raise the price of Gasol. It could just as easily be coming from the Kings, for purposes unknown. Either way, I don't think it's a rumor we can dismiss outright.
The pick protection wrinkle might be the most interesting part. We've long emphasized that if the Kings convey their pick to Chicago this year, the Philadelphia pick swaps become less worrisome, as there would no longer be a looming unprotected pick to potentially be owed in 2019.
Update: Another interesting wrinkle with the pick protections.
Right now, the Sixers have the right to swap picks with the Kings as long as the Kings pick lands in the top-10 of the draft.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) February 18, 2016
Because of that "right" any update to the protection of the pick owed to Chicago would have to be approved by the Sixers.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) February 18, 2016
The Kings have reached out to Philadelphia in effort to facilitate a three-team deal that sends Pau Gasol to SAC, per Basketball Insiders.— Russell Johnson (@RussJohnsonNBA) February 18, 2016