Faux Pau: Pax says it ain't so
Calls story about recent talks with Grizz a fabrication
July 5, 2007
BY BRIAN HANLEY firstname.lastname@example.org
Bulls general manager John Paxson said he has had no recent talks with the Grizzlies concerning a trade for Pau Gasol.
A newspaper report Wednesday suggested such talk was at ''the preliminary stages,'' which Paxson flatly denied.
''I have not had one conversation concerning Gasol,'' said Paxson, who called the story -- which floated a deal of Andres Nocioni, Joakim Noah, Chris Duhon and other considerations for the 7-foot Grizzlies forward -- ''a complete fabrication.''
The Grizzlies, who offered Gasol to the Bulls before the trade deadline last season, are very interested in Nocioni.
General manager Chris Wallace flew to Argentina to make a personal pitch to the restricted free agent.
Paxson has said his desire is to re-sign Nocioni and has vowed to match any offer sheet he signs. Teams cannot sign free agents until next Wednesday, when the NBA sets the salary cap for next season, expected to be about $56million.
Teams have seven days to match offer sheets tendered to their restricted free agents. If the bidding for Nocioni proves to be too costly for the Bulls, Paxson could try to include him in a sign-and-trade deal.
The Grizzlies, Bobcats and Bucks have the most cap room with which to pursue free agents.
As for the Bulls' free-agent pursuits, 76ers forward Joe Smith is scheduled to meet with Paxson and coach Scott Skiles today at the Berto Center, and Lakers center Chris Mihm is scheduled to visit Saturday.
Mihm, who missed all of last season after ankle surgery, reportedly also will work out for the Suns at the team's summer league in Las Vegas.
Paxson still is awaiting word from Bulls forward/center P.J. Brown on whether the unrestricted free agent wants to play another season.
Brown's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told Paxson on Wednesday that Brown still had not returned from a vacation.
If Brown, 37, decides not to retire, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been quoted by DallasBasketball.com as saying his team will pursue Brown.
Cuban also told the Web site that the Mavericks are trying to trade for Timberwolves superstar Kevin Garnett ''because this is about trying to be opportunistic.''