Gasol, Mirotic Ready for Challenge as Bulls Introduce Duo

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Chicago Bulls on Friday introduced Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol to the media. Peggy Kusinski reports. (Published Friday, Jul 18, 2014)

    The scene may have been set at the United Center on Friday, but between the myriad of reporters and interpreters, it may as well have been the United Nations.

    Despite the variety of languages being spoken, there was one message that was clear as the Chicago Bulls introduced Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol to the media: Both men expect to make an impact immediately, and they are coming to the Windy City to win.

    Mirotic came to the microphone first, and although his press conference was brief, he expressed confidence that he was making the right choice in joining the Bulls instead of staying with Real Madrid in Spain:

    With 11.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in 43 games with Real Madrid last year, Mirotic will likely be a stretch-four in the Bulls’ system, and he’ll likely come off of the bench to begin his NBA career. With Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol both demanding time at the power forward position, Mirotic will be expected to provide scoring punch as a reserve, and he seems comfortable with whatever role the Bulls have in mind for him:

    As for Gasol, the forward comes over from the Los Angeles Lakers eager to prove that he still has plenty left in the tank. He ended up missing 22 games last season, but he still averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game with the Lakers. He will likely be the Bulls’ starting power forward, and he will be expected to contribute some low post presence and fill in for Joakim Noah when the starting center is resting on the bench.

    Despite being offered more money by other teams (including the Lakers, who reportedly offered him a two-year, $22 million deal), Gasol felt confident enough in the health of Derrick Rose and the vision of Gar Forman and John Paxson to agree to come to Chicago:

    Besides the change in system under Tom Thibodeau and the pressure that comes with playing in a basketball-crazed city like Chicago, there was something else on Gasol’s mind when he was asked what it would be like to adjust to playing for an Eastern Conference team for the first time: