(CBS) Now officially eliminated from playoff contention, the Bulls are shutting down four injured players for the season’s final two games.
Pau Gasol (right knee), Taj Gibson (ribs), E’Twaun Moore (left hamstring) and Derrick Rose have been shut down, the Tribune’s K.C. Johnson reported. They won’t play in the Bulls’ road game Monday against the Pelicans or in the season finale Wednesday when they host the 76ers. The playoff hopes of the ninth-place Bulls (40-40) died when the Pacers (43-37) won Sunday evening.
Gasol’s career as a Bull could well be done. He intends to exercise his opt-out clause to become an unrestricted free agent, and on a team that needs to get younger and better defensively, it’s difficult to see how the 35-year-old Gasol fits in the picture moving forward. Signed in July 2014, Gasol’s been an All-Star in each of his two seasons in Chicago. He averaged 16.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 72 games this season.
Rose finishes the year by averaging 16.4 points and 4.7 assists on 42.7 percent shooting. He played in 66 games, the most he’s played since his MVP campaign of 2010-’11. Rose dealt with a variety of injuries this season, including a fractured orbital and issues with his ankle, knee and hamstring.
Moore’s set to become an unrestricted free agent. The Bulls have praised his play and development, though it remains to be seen how whether the dollars will make sense for him to come back. Moore averaged 7.5 points and brought quality perimeter defense. He played in 59 games, starting 22.
Gibson appeared in 73 games, making 55 starts — his most since his rookie season of 2009-’10 — and averaging
One Bull who does plan to play Monday is All-Star wing Jimmy Butler, who’s dealt with left knee issues for the past two months. As of now, Butler’s intention is to try and make the U.S. Olympic team this summer, which would mean offseason knee surgery isn’t in play, the Tribune reported.