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Pau Gasol to Replace Jimmy Butler in 2016 NBA All-Star Game

Jan 28, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol (16) holds on to a rebound in the first half of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Adam WellsFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2017

The NBA didn't have to go far to find an injury replacement for Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler in Sunday's All-Star Game, adding his teammate, Pau Gasol, to the Eastern Conference roster.   

Per Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report, the NBA announced Tuesday that Gasol would take Butler's spot in the midseason superstar showcase. 

An erratic season for the Bulls took a bad turn Tuesday when the team announced Butler would miss three to four weeks with a strained left knee. The 26-year-old suffered the injury during a game against the Denver Nuggets on February 5. 

Butler, who was named a reserve on the Eastern Conference roster for the second straight season, leads the Bulls in scoring average (22.4) and ranks second in player-efficiency rating (22.0) and assists per game (4.3), per Basketball-Reference.com

Even though Gasol didn't make the initial cut of All-Stars, the 35-year-old certainly deserves his spot on the roster in the midst of one of his best seasons, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Gasol will join a group of big men on the Eastern Conference roster that includes the Miami Heat's Chris Bosh and the Atlanta Hawks' Paul Millsap. This will be his sixth All-Star Game appearance in his 15-year NBA career. 

While Butler's scoring prowess will be missed on Sunday against a loaded Western Conference roster, Gasol fits in nicely because he gives head coach Tyronn Lue more size to use against players like Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.

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