Veteran center Pau Gasol hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since March 10, 2019, but he still hasn’t given up on making it back to the league. The 40-year-old told ESPN’s Zach Lowe that his goal for the coming year is to play for an NBA team and to represent Spain at the Tokyo Olympics in the summer.
Gasol, who has talked previously about wanting to return to play one last season with the Lakers, said that the idea of reuniting with his old team in Los Angeles is even more appealing now that his brother Marc Gasol has signed there.
“There is meaning and history there,” Pau said. “I’m not going to lie. It would be very special, and now that my brother is there, even more special. But I’m not in a position now to be very demanding. I don’t have 10 offers on the table.”
Gasol confirmed to Lowe that he has undergone two surgeries to repair stress fractures in the navicular bone in his left foot since he last played in the NBA. He has recovered from those procedures, but wants to work more on his improving his conditioning before seriously engaging in talks with NBA teams, according to Lowe, who says Pau and his agent recently discussed camp deals with some clubs.
Although Gasol would be interested in working for an NBA team in some capacity once he officially hangs up his sneakers, he’s not ready to transition into that phase of his career yet. As Lowe writes, the two-time champion wants to be more than a “glorified coach” if he signs with a team.
It’s not clear if the Lakers have genuine interest in signing Gasol or if he’ll have to seek an opportunity elsewhere, but he’s hoping for the opportunity to compete for another title alongside his brother.
“He had several teams that were interested,” Pau said of Marc. “What he valued most was the opportunity to win another championship. To play for the Lakers — it’s such a unique franchise. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and it’s very special for us to be the first brothers to play for the Lakers. It would be incredible if it ends up happening where I can join the team at some point.”