Amongst the flurry of moves that have shaken up NBA rosters as the free agent season winds down, one will stand out to Chicago Bulls fans. 7 ft. tall, 250-pound Barcelona, Spain native and Mezlan-clad Center Pau Gasol announced he was leaving the Los Angeles Lakers where he’s played since the 2007-08 season. The 34-year old was selected by the Atlanta Hawks as the 3rd overall pick in the first round of 2001 draft, before having his rights traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Although details are scarce, Gasol made the announcement in a July 12th tweet, “It hasn’t been easy. After meditating it a lot I’ve chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career.” The Bulls reportedly opted to sign Gasol when Carmelo Anthony, whom the team had been courting, decided to stay with the New York Knicks.
Gasol will all but act as a replacement to Carlos Boozer, whom the Bulls signed to a five-year, $75 million contract four years ago. With Gasol’s arrival, experts are predicting Boozer will soon be departing the team. “Unless Bulls have salary-cap trick no one can see right now, looks like they will be forced to amnesty Carlos Boozer by Wednesday’s deadline,” ESPN’s Marc Stein tweeted. If Gasol keeps up his current level of play, the Bulls will have made an extremely smart move in terms of getting the most bang for their buck. Over the last season, Gasol averaged 3.7 more points per game, 1.4 more rebounds, and 1.8 more assists per game than Boozer and will cost the Bulls around $5 million less per year, according to most estimates.
Gasol has no shortage of career accomplishments under his belt, tracing back to the days of playing for his hometown team. Before joining the NBA, he played for FC Barcelona Bàsquet in the Spanish ACB League from 1998 to 2001, where he led the team to a championship in 2001 and was named MVP of the Spanish League Finals and Spanish King’s Cup.
Gasol’s NBA accolades include winning 2 Championships with the Lakers, being named NBA Rookie of the Year for 2002, being named an All-Star 4 times, being named the FIBA World Cup MVP in 2006, and still standing as the Grizzlies all-time leading scorer. Following his move to the NBA, Gasol continued to play for the Spanish National Basketball team, leading them to a Gold Medal at the 2006 FIBA World Cup, 2 Gold Medals at FIBA Eurobasket Cups, and Silver Medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
While it may be wishful thinking, some have speculated Gasol could recruit his brother Marc to play for his new team as well. Either way Chicago should be happy to have this talented and stylish team player on their side. Chances are if you see Gasol off the court, he will be exhibiting patriotic pride in a pair of Mezlan shoes handcrafted in Spain. So if you want moves like Pau Gasol don’t buy a pair of tennis shoes from an athletic store, head down to 900 N. Michigan Shops on the Magnificent Mile and get a pair of Mezlans. There’s no telling what new Windy City residents you might run into picking up their latest pair of men’s shoes.