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Five things to know about Pau Gasol and how he’ll help the Bulls

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol center Spadrives lane for shot as Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried left center Timofey

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, center, of Spain, drives the lane for a shot as Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, left, and center Timofey Mozgov, of Russia, cover in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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Updated: July 12, 2014 8:17PM



LAS VEGAS — It didn’t have the drama of a first-person, heart-felt essay to a major magazine, but LeBron James is a hard act to follow.

Instead, free-agent big man Pau Gasol announced on his twitter account Saturday afternoon that he would join the Bulls.

“It hasn’t been easy,” Gasol wrote. “After meditating it a lot I’ve chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career.”

The 34-year-old, 7-footer will have an immediate effect on the Bulls’ offense. For his career, Gasol has averaged 18.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Five things to know about Gasol:

1. You pick, I roll – The knock on Carlos Boozer was his lack of agility, especially in the pick-and-roll. One of the reasons the Bulls were in hot pursuit of Gasol after Carmelo Anthony completed his money grab with the Knicks was the importance of the pick-and-roll game in Thibodeau’s offense. Gasol is not only an elite pick-and-roll player, but he has plus hands, as well as an ability to pick-and-pop, knocking down the mid-range shot consistently. He has a better flow for what Thibodeau has wanted to do offensively.

2. Getting defensive – Gasol’s individual defense is nothing to write home about, especially when going head-to-head with a physical presence in the post. Not to worry. The Bulls are more concerned with his underrated ability to be an obstacle at the rim, as well as his IQ in playing team defense. He will be an improvement over Boozer.

3. Championship pedigree – Not only was Gasol a force overseas, winning a Spanish-league championship in 2001, but he won NBA titles with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. In the Game 7 win in ’10, Gasol scored 19 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.

4. Brotherly love – Gasol is the older brother of Grizzlies big man Marc and began his career with the Grizzlies before being traded to the Lakers before the 2007-08 season. Included in that trade to Memphis was the rights to Marc.

5. Helping hand – Besides Gasol being a lift for the offense and a player who can help Derrick Rose in the scoring department, he could be a big-time mentor for Nikola Mirotic. Like Gasol, Mirotic grew up in the Spanish league, and at 6-10, he has some similarities in the way he plays.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops



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