It turns out that among all the endless trade discussions that involved Pau Gasol as the centerpiece, the Lakers either remained unable or unwilling to deal their star forward.
Gasol announced on his Twitter account that he agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bulls. But his departure did not involve the Lakers completing a sign-and-trade with the Bulls, according to a league source familiar with the discussions. The Lakers were generally open to the idea both to help Gasol secure a larger contract and accumulate additional talent and draft picks. But even if the Lakers were willing to do this out of gratitude for Gasol helping them to three NBA finals appearances and two championships, the Lakers would only do so if the deal helped them.
It is not immediately clear what offers the Lakers turned down. But in general terms, the Lakers wanted talent, draft picks and expiring contracts, both to boost their vacant roster and ensuring financial flexibility for the 2015 offseason.
It hasn't been easy. After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) July 12, 2014
Gasol established a deeply rooted legacy with Los Angeles ever since being acquired froa pm Memphis in 2008. Beyond appearing in three NBA Finals and winning two NBA championships, Gasol became a perfect fit for Phil Jackson’s triangle offense and complemented Kobe Bryant’s personality and skillset.
After a struggling playoff run in 2011, the Lakers traded Gasol the following season in the Chris Paul deal that soon became nixed. Gasol still wanted to stay a Laker, but he faced circumstances that were hardly as enjoyable as initial success here. Gasol faced a reduced role in the 2011-12 season under former coach Mike Brown to accommodate Andrew Bynum. For the past two seasons, Gasol exchanged with philosophical differences with former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni over his fast-paced system that put less of an emphasis on post play. Meanwhile, he became the subject of nearly every Lakers’ trade proposal. He also suffered a rash of injuries the past two seasons.
Still, Gasol remained mostly beloved within the Lakers and their fanbase for his versatility, loyalty to the franchise and philanthropic work that included extensive involvement with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and MySafeLA. Through six seasons with the Lakers, Gasol averaged 17.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org