LOS ANGELES — Pau Gasol has left the Los Angeles Lakers after playing on two championship teams and helping resuscitate their franchise in a February 2008 transaction.
Gasol, 34, will join the Chicago Bulls, who are finalizing a deal with the 7-foot Spaniard. It was unclear if he was signing for a mid-level exception or if this is part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Lakers.
Gasol announced that he’s leaving for Chicago via Twitter.
“It hasn’t been easy,” Gasol tweeted. “After meditating it a lot I’ve chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career.”
He made his mark with the Lakers as a prolific post player, showing off his sharp mid-range shot and top-notch passing skills.
His best effort came in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, when he had 19 points and 18 rebounds in the Lakers’ 83-79 victory over Boston.
The Lakers offered a variety of contracts to Gasol, including a three-year deal worth $29 million and a two-year deal for $23 million.
But the sides mutually lost interest when Carmelo Anthony eventually said no to the Lakers’ pitch.
One person who won’t be happy with Gasol’s departure: Kobe Bryant.
They fought alongside each other for three trips to the NBA Finals and rebounded well after the first one ended messily — a 131-92 loss to Boston in Game 6 in 2008.
Gasol often found himself in a tug-of-war between his desire to be in the post and the perimeter-oriented schemes of former coach Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball offense.