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Lakes snag Jeremy Lin, lose Pau Gasol

Posted: July 12, 2014 6:31 p.m.
Updated: July 12, 2014 6:31 p.m.

The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Jeremy Lin, right, in a trade with the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

 

Jeremy Lin is still on his way to the Los Angeles Lakers, even after the Houston Rockets failed to land coveted forward Chris Bosh in free agency.

The Rockets still plan to execute the trade that will send the point guard to Los Angeles for cash, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Saturday. The people requested anonymity because the trade has not been officially announced.

On the same day, Lakers big man Pau Gasol announced on his verified Twitter account that he reached agreement with the Chicago Bulls.

“It hasn’t been easy,” Gasol tweeted. “After meditating it a lot I’ve chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career.”

The Spaniard is one of the NBA’s most offensively gifted and versatile big men, and he has long been one of Kobe Bryant’s favorite teammates with the Lakers. Gasol spent the last seven seasons in Los Angeles, teaming with Bryant to win two championships and reach another NBA Finals.

The exact terms of his agreement with the Bulls were not immediately clear. The Bulls and Lakers had reportedly been discussing sign-and-trade options earlier in the day Saturday, but no official announcement from either team had been made.

The 7-foot Gasol is a four-time All-Star and averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 60 games last season with Los Angeles, and he brings some sorely needed offensive punch to the Bulls frontcourt.

Meanwhile, the Lakers were able to get their hands on a talented point guard in Lin, who gives them a different dimension at the position and could help ease the scoring burden on Bryant, who only played in six games last year because of injury.

The Rockets originally offered to deal Lin in order to create the salary cap room to make the offer to then-free agent LeBron James. Morey reached an agreement to trade Lin, who will make about $15 million this season in the last year of a deal that counts only $8 million against the cap to the Lakers, who have the cap room to absorb Lin’s contract without sending much back in return.

When James chose to return to Cleveland on Friday, the path appeared to be clearing for the Texas-born Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh to join up with the Rockets and vault them into contender status in the powerful Western Conference.

But Heat President Pat Riley quickly recovered from James’ rejection and convinced Bosh to stay in Miami with a whopping five-year, $118 million offer.

The Rockets went ahead and dealt Lin anyway.

Lin earned his big contract with the Rockets thanks to a fantastic midseason run with the New York Knicks in 2012, when the “Linsanity” phenomenon was born. He’s the kind of dynamic, shoot-first point guard that has become more and more popular in the league over the last few seasons, which should help the Lakers, who have pass-first Kendall Marshall and the oft-injured Steve Nash on the roster as well.

Lin averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 assists last season, but he lost his starting job alongside the defensively deficient Harden because coach Kevin McHale preferred Patrick Beverley’s tenacity on that end of the floor.

But with Bryant likely needing some time to ease back into things after missing almost all of last season and Gasol on his way out, Lin will provide some much-needed offensive punch to a rebuilding Lakers roster.

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