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posted: 7/15/2014 5:18 AM

Except for Cleveland, Bulls put together best off-season

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  • Pau Gasol (16), who signed with the Chicago Bulls, averaged 17.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game last season for the Los Angeles Lakers.

      Pau Gasol (16), who signed with the Chicago Bulls, averaged 17.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game last season for the Los Angeles Lakers.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

The Cleveland Cavaliers got their guy back and the world is right again in Ohio.

But the Chicago Bulls got Pau Gasol, and outside of LeBron James' return to Cleveland, I think that's the best addition any NBA team made in the off-season.

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I was never a guy who blamed Carlos Boozer for much -- he tried, but what you saw is basically what you got. Gasol, though, is another animal altogether. He's a two-time champion and, at 34, still has three or four good years left to play.

Gasol averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocked shots per game last season with the dysfunctional Los Angeles Lakers.

If you need more proof of his value, check out the teams that lost the bidding for his services. The San Antonio Spurs, who know a thing or two about personnel, were interested. And so were the Lakers, who offered him three years at $29 million or two years at $23 million, which he turned down.

With Chris Bosh getting a five-year, $118 million deal from the Miami Heat, that suggests Gasol, who is as good offensively as Bosh but not valued as highly, will be a huge bargain for the Bulls.

If Derrick Rose is ready to go and just 80 percent of what he was, the Bulls have a shot. If he's not, or if he's just damaged goods, it won't matter whether the Bulls have Gasol or not.

With LeBron's return to Cleveland, and the addition of Gasol to the Bulls with a healthy Rose, the Eastern Conference just got stronger. Don't forget, Kevin Love is still out there waiting and the Cleveland Cavs are ready to pounce. It all just gets more fun every day, and right now the NBA is king.

A media mess:

LeBron James returning to Cleveland is something many people, including myself, would never have predicted before the end of the NBA season.

But the Heat's loss to the Spurs, the deterioration of Miami's team, plus roster improvements in Cleveland all came into play in LeBron's decision.

One thing I did state, however, was that one championship in Cleveland would be worth three or four in Miami. Since James will never make it to Jordan territory, (six championships with one team) his legacy will be about winning at home.

That said, I found the "reporting" by the media was shabby throughout this saga. The misuse of the word "sources" almost became a joke. It would have been refreshing to hear someone name names, but maybe since most of them are fictitious or unsubstantiated, the readers and viewers would just laugh.

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio, and check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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