Here's my story, maybe some of it may be useful. I was swapping from g54b na to turbo only to realize the donor turbo engine was shot. So I built the na block to turbo spec. All I had do was pull the pistons and swap/hone. Upon removal I see one of my rod bearings was destroyed and could have spun. Since I needed to now have the rods inspected and ground back to round, I decided to order new pistons and have the machine shop press them on instead of diy press on the used ones. In your case since your not swapings, check your rods for roundness and bearings for signs of damage. Get new rings and get new main/rod bearings. Rockauto closeout is your friend here. ($3 sealed power rod bearings for me) Sealed power and clevite are good suppliers. You can, like me, do this rebuild without even dropping the trans or removing the engine, just roll the bearings in. Harbor freight hone and ring compressor do a great job here.
Next up, do all the timing components. Cloyes does well. Check oil pump for clearances as they usually are fine. A new,one is pricey, so if yours is shot, nothing wrong with a good used one. Pull and check your balance shaft bearings. Mine were chewed up so I eliminated the balance shafts. Your discussion here. I got the cheapest,master gasket set, dnj?, as paper and rubber are all pretty similar. Threw out the head gasket and got a fel pro, as here it counts. Bam, with machine shop,timing parts, pistons and all I was out $300 with my time. You could do the bottom end for half if your pistons and rods are fine.
I didn't touch the head as the previous owner put in a new one a few years back. In your case, check to make sure its flat, uncracked and not warped. That's the weak point of these heads. Once they warp the around of money you can drop fixing it up and do I,g a valve job outweighs just getting a new Clearwater. If yours miraculously checks out, a quick $50 mill at the machine shop, a diy valve lap with some rockauto closeout valves, a jet valve elimination kit, and fresh headbolts, done for $100.