Sports Out West

Pau Gasol eyes ‘new chapter’ with Bulls

Photo Credit: AP

Former Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol on Saturday agreed to a multi-year deal with the Chicago Bulls and stated that he is ready to start the “new chapter’ of his NBA career, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.

Gasol also took to his personal website to express his gratitude toward the organization that he spent the better half of his first 13 years of his career playing for, but did acknowledge the Lakers are now in a “rebuilding process.”

In my seven seasons with the Lakers, we made three trips to the NBA Finals and won two NBA Championships.  I am thankful that I was able to play with one of the greatest NBA players, Kobe Bryant, alongside many other great teammates, and for one of the greatest coaches, Phil Jackson and his coaching staff. I‘m also grateful to have played for one of the best owners in all of sports –  the Buss family. However, I realize that the Lakers are in a rebuilding process.   I have no doubt the Lakers will be a top contender in the future. Unfortunately, the Lakers’ timetable does not align with mine. I wish the Lakers and its fans nothing but the best going forward.

 The 34-year-old had spent the last 6 1/2 seasons with Los Angeles, where he had much success as he had consecutive Finals appearances (2008-2010), won two NBA Titles (2009-2010), was selected to three All-Star game (2009-2011), named to two All-NBA Third Team (2009-2010), and had one All-NBA Second Team selection (2011). His departure from the Lakers now leaves Kobe Bryant as the only remaining player from the 2010 championship team.

Los Angeles had offered Gasol two separate contracts at two-years, $22 million, and three-years, $29 million but he declined both deals. However, Following the news that he had signed with the Bulls on Saturday, the Lakers gave thanks to the two-time NBA Champion via Twitter.

Gasol will be joining a Chicago team that already has two elite-level players in former league MVP Derrick Rose and last season’s Defensive Player of the Year in Joakim Noah. His contract with the team will not be completed until they have cleared enough salary cap space to sign the four-time All-Star.

The Bulls are expected to look into trading Carlos Boozer, who will be entering the final year of his contract that will pay him $16.8 million. If they are unable to move Boozer, the team has until Wednesday to use their one-time amnesty clause to rid his contract off their salary cap.

Other teams that were interested in the 13-year veteran’s services were the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, and San Antonio Spurs. Outside of the Bulls, the Spurs were considered to be the other finalist for Gasol.

Photo Credit: AP

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.