JULY 10: It appears Gasol won’t be joining his old team in Barcelona after all. Joan Bladé i Marsal, a member of the club’s board of directors, said there have been and will be no negotiations with Gasol, per Catràdio Esports (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando).
JULY 8: Free agent big man Pau Gasol appears to be nearing a deal to rejoin FC Barcelona, his former team in Spain, according to multiple reports.
La Resistencia del Palau first tweeted of “advanced negotiations” between Gasol and Barcelona, with Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops reporting today that the two sides are close to a one-year agreement that’s expected to be finalized later in the summer.
Gasol, who turned 40 on Monday, has played in the NBA since 2001, most recently appearing in 30 total games for San Antonio and Milwaukee during the 2018/19 season. The veteran center was briefly on the Trail Blazers’ roster to start the ’19/20 campaign, but foot issues prevented him from playing at all for the club, and he was eventually released.
Gasol’s decorated NBA résumé includes averages of 17.0 PPG and 9.2 RPG in 1,226 total regular season games for the Grizzlies, Lakers, Bulls, Spurs, and Bucks. He earned six All-Star nods and won a pair of NBA championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010. Even before he arrived stateside though, he had some memorable years in Barcelona, winning Spanish League titles in 1999 and 2001 and earning Finals MVP honors in ’01.
Although he has sat out the 2019/20 season, Gasol has repeatedly talked about wanting to play one more year and then participate in the Tokyo Olympics, which were rescheduled to the summer of 2021. Last month, he told Spanish media that he was intrigued by the idea of returning to the team with which he started his professional career.
“My intention is to play another season if the foot is OK, either in the NBA or in Europe,” Gasol said at the time. “A final season with the Lakers is attractive, finishing at Barça (Barcelona) is attractive, but you have to see the real possibilities and see what situation would be best for the circumstances of the moment.”
While Gasol and Barcelona don’t have an agreement in place yet, it makes sense that he’d choose that opportunity if it’s available — the timeline for the ’20/21 NBA season remains up in the air and there’s no guarantee there would be contract offers waiting for him in the fall.