Pau Gasol declines player option with Bulls, enters free agency

There appears to be a mass exodus from the Chicago Bulls happening. Derrick Rose was traded to the New York Knicks. Joakim Noah isn't expected to re-sign with the Bulls as a free agent this summer. And now Pau Gasol has officially declined a player option for 2016-17 that would have paid him $7.7 million. Marc Stein of ESPN is reporting Gasol let Chicago know he's becoming a free agent.

CBSSports.com's Matt Moore has Gasol ranked as the 17th best free agent this summer with ideal landing spots being the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder. Gasol is 35 years old but should still be able to contribute as either a starting big or a Sixth Man type off the bench. He's coming off a great individual season in which he put up 16.5 points, 11 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2 blocks per game in 72 games.

The Bulls missed the playoffs despite those efforts, and since then, it's seemed like we're going to see an overhaul with the roster. There have even been steady trade rumors involving franchise player Jimmy Butler and maybe even power forward Taj Gibson, who has been on the team since 2009. Chicago could be looking for a big rebuild or just attempt a quick retooling through free agency. They acquired Robin Lopez in the Rose trade, and he will end up being the starting center for them.

The Bulls still have the chance to re-sign Gasol this summer. Chicago still has Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic as potential starting power forwards should they not be able to bring Gasol back or just opt to go a different direction.

Pau Gasol does not look thrilled
Pau Gasol has a lot on his mind. USATSI
CBS Sports Writer

Zach Harper likes basketball. Some would even say he loves it. He's also an enthusiast for everything Ricky Davis, Rasheed Wallace, Nic Cage, and has seen the movie Gigli almost three times. He's been... Full Bio

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