It would be a surprise if Pau Gasol is on the Bulls next season, posits K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter link), and the latest remarks from the All-Star big man seem to back that up. Gasol said after the trade deadline that the way the team played in the season’s final two months would affect his decision about whether to re-sign this summer after he opts out to hit free agency, and he conceded after Thursday’s loss that the Bulls have staggered to the finish, as Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com relays. The Bulls, for their part, aren’t as intent on re-signing Gasol as they were in February, Johnson wrote last week.
“Nothing is set right now,” Gasol said. “Definitely, I will evaluate what I need to when the time comes. But the way the team has responded to adversity and the way we finished up the season has not been so far great, and it’s been disappointing. So at the end of the day, when the time comes, I will evaluate things. It’s hard to finish the season like this. It’s not finished, but we’re in a very, as we know, extremely difficult position, so everything will be thought of and considered.”
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- Jimmy Butler is the last guy the Bulls want to trade, if they make a trade at all this summer, according to the prevailing thought from inside the team, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Chris Mannix of The Vertical earlier heard that the Bulls appeared to be considering the idea of trading Butler.
- The Bulls will probably look to draft a point guard this summer after changing their plan to do so last year when Bobby Portis fell to them at the No. 22 pick, Johnson writes. Still, coach Fred Hoiberg doesn’t think Butler is better off when incumbent point guard Derrick Rose isn’t on the floor, as Johnson relays. “We’ve gone with Derrick to finish off some games and obviously Jimmy to close out a lot,” Hoiberg said. “When they have played together, it’s basically whoever has the better matchup or whoever has it going. We’re obviously a better team when Derrick is out there.”
- Butler hasn’t shown the leadership befitting the five-year, $92.34MM contract he signed last year, but it makes more sense on a practical level to trade Rose than it does to trade Butler, the Tribune’s David Haugh opines.