Pau Gasol not upbeat on staying with Bulls with playoffs unlikely

— -- MIAMI -- Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol said he has not decided whether he will look to remain with the Bulls after this season ends.

Gasol, who is expected to use the player opt out in his contract after the season, had said before February's trade deadline that how the Bulls finished down the stretch would play a part is his decision-making process.

After the Bulls' 106-98 loss to the Miami Heat, those playoff chances are just about dead. The Bulls would have to win their last three regular-season games, and the Indiana Pacers would have to lose their last four games to claim the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"Nothing is set right now," Gasol said after the game. "Definitely, I will evaluate what I need to when the time comes. But the way the team has responded to adversity and the way we finished up the season has not been so far great, and it's been disappointing. So at the end of the day, when the time comes, I will evaluate things. It's hard to finish the season like this. It's not finished, but we're in a very, as we know, extremely difficult position, so everything will be thought of and considered."

Gasol, who signed in Chicago during the summer of 2014 after the Bulls missed out on Carmelo Anthony, said he hasn't considered the fact that he might be playing his final three games in a Bulls uniform.

"Not really," he said. "I want to play every game -- I always try to play every game like it's my last. I try to give it my all. I'm at a point in my career where I've played a lot of basketball and try to give it my best every single night. I think I'm doing overall pretty good, but I'm not thinking that it could be my last game [with the Bulls]. I mean, it could. It could be your last game any night, any given night, so from that standpoint, I don't think too much ahead about it."

As has been the case throughout the season, the Bulls couldn't muster a consistent 48 minute effort. They gave up 66 points in the second half of Thursday's loss to the Heat.

Gasol lamented that after the Bulls' latest loss.

"We haven't given it enough importance on a gamely basis," he said of the Bulls' defensive intensity. "We haven't been able to put enough games where we play together with intensity and effort required on the defensive end. In this league, you're going to have better or worse nights offensively, but defense is what's going to give you a chance every single night. And we've relied too much on our offense. We just haven't had the defensive mindset, nor emphasis on it, so we paid the price a lot of times. We've been too casual many times, and that's why we are where we are."

Gasol reiterated what has been a common theme throughout the Bulls' underwhelming season: They haven't played together when they needed to win games.

"No matter how talented you are, you don't win based on talent," Gasol said. "You win based on desire, togetherness, effort, determination, things that are important."

Why didn't the Bulls have those characteristics?

"Probably several reasons, several factors affected our performance," Gasol said. "You could say transitioning from one coaching staff to another affected [things]. You could say injuries had an effect. You could say guys didn't want it bad enough. I don't know. Things that are critical I think and important, but to what percentage, I don't know."