'No guarantees,' but Pau Gasol plans to stay in Chicago

ByNick Friedell ESPN logo
Saturday, February 20, 2016

CLEVELAND -- Chicago Bulls All-Star center Pau Gasol, who has been the subject of multiple trade rumors in recent days, says he has been in contact with Bulls management and ownership and does not think he will be movedbefore Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline.

"There's really no guarantees here in this business," Gasol said after Thursday's shootaround. "And it is a business, at the end of the day, especially when a team is struggling and things are not going the way people were expecting [them] to. So sometimes decisions are made, whether they're right or wrong, it happens. So I think it's improbable that anything will happen, but it's fun to talk about it, isn't it?"

League sources have insisted for weeks that the Bulls were not going to move Gasol unless they got future assets of serious value in return. The Bulls are not expected to make a trade for change's sake despite the team's season-long inconsistency and a recent tailspin that has resulted in their losing 13 of their past 18 games.

"There's no anxiety, really," Gasol said. "Unfortunately, when there's stories out and those stories are put out and talked about, then you can't help but think there might be some truth to them and that could affect your life, obviously. We're talking about life-changing moments. But at the same time, most of the time those things kind of vanish and they don't turn into anything. So you just got to keep on and continue with your day and your life and approach your day the same way as you would any other day."

The 35-year-old comes into Thursday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers averaging 17 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Alongside All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, Gasol has been the Bulls' most consistent offensive player since signing with the organization in the 2015 summer free-agency period.

Gasol is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract this summer but reiterated that he would like to stay in Chicago in the future.

"This is where I wanted to be and where I want to be right now," Gasol said. "I don't want to give up on this team just because we're going through some difficulties and challenges right now. Things really haven't turned out the way I wanted them to, but at the same time, there are things that I couldn't anticipate. All I can do is continue to give my best. And I do still believe we can still turn this thing around a little bit or a lot and put ourselves in a good position.

"Whatever happens this summer, I don't know. Then it will be more of a process of evaluation wherever I am to make the best decision for the last few years of my career."

He acknowledged that the Bulls are in the lead as far as his future plans go, but he's spent 15 years in the league and knows things can change over time.

Gasol signed with the Bulls with the hopes of chasing a championship, but after losing to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference semifinals and watching his team struggle to find an identity under coach Fred Hoiberg this season, he admitted that how the Bulls respond will affect his decision this summer.

"How we handle this situation and if we're able to overcome it, get more together and united and stronger, or we give up or are content with it," Gasol said. "Because that tells a lot. It tells you a lot about the character of a team and the people you are around with."

As far as any other potential moves, Hoiberg said he does not believe the Bulls will end up making a trade before the deadline.

"As of right now, as of [Wednesday], there was nothing going on," Hoiberg said. "As we talked about [Wednesday], with the way this stuff works, there's a lot of, obviously, last-minute deals. It's when people start getting serious about discussions. I know everybody's doing their jobs in our front office, as all the other 29 teams are doing."