Pau Gasol, who had been planning a rejuvenating getaway for the All-Star break, said he’s honored to go to Toronto instead after being named to fill in for injured teammate Jimmy Butler.
“I would have embraced the rest,” Gasol said Wednesday. “When I wasn’t selected to be a starter by 360 votes and I wasn’t selected to be a reserve by the coaches, I was disappointed at first. But I was putting a really nice trip together, which now I have to cancel. The good news is that I’ll be participating in All-Star weekend. It’s an honor I’m proud of.”
Though Gasol will miss visiting a warm-weather destination he declined to identify, he’s excited to be participating in Kobe Bryant’s last All-Star Game. The two shared some great moments on the Lakers.
“For sure. That was one of the things that was disappointing for me, not to make it directly,” Gasol said. “I wanted to be in his last All-Star Game. What Kobe means to me as a teammate and a friend, it’s a lot. Unfortunately, it’s because of Jimmy’s injury.”
This is Gasol’s sixth All-Star appearance and his second in a row. Artis Gilmore and Joakim Noah are the only other Bulls big men to earn back-to-back All-Star honors.
Nikola Mirotic faces a long road back from an appendectomy and hematoma removal, but he’s showing some encouraging signs.
“I saw Niko [Tuesday],” coach Fred Hoiberg said, adding that Mirotic was scheduled to have his stitches removed Wednesday. “He’s still in a lot of pain. He lost a lot of weight. He lost about 15 pounds with the complication. It’s a tough situation.
“[Getting] his stitches out will hopefully get him more upright and moving around. But still no time frame on Niko. After he gets these stitches out and is able to move around a little bit more and get in the hot tub and pool, [we’ll] get him progressing in the right direction.’’
‘Right decision’ on Rose
Hoiberg defended the decision to sit Derrick Rose on Monday at Charlotte, even though the Bulls faced a tough situation without Butler.
“It was the right decision,’’ Hoiberg said. “It was our fifth game in seven nights. And he wasn’t moving around well leading into that game. So we made the decision collectively to sit Derrick. A lot of it was based on how he was moving around. Hopefully, the couple days of rest will get him playing well. After the break, we’re going to need him.’’
Rose, who has missed only seven games this season, is on track to play the most games since he won the MVP award in 2010-11.
Rose also has been playing well lately.
“He’s playing the best he has all year, the way we need him to play,’’ Hoiberg said. “If Derrick can play with this style and a healthy roster, good things will happen.’’
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