Pau Gasol is back in Spain to play for Barcelona, with the team announcing their deal ends on June 30.
The tall 40-year-old started his professional basketball career with Barcelona in 1998-99, spending three seasons in Liga ACB with the club and playing for the team in the inaugural Euroleague season (2000-01 ), before making the jump to the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2001-02 season. He was named NBA Rookie of the Year in his first season with Memphis.
“I’m happy to be returning to the club where I started, and I’m excited about this new opportunity: I hope to contribute to the first team very soon. I want to thank Barca and their technical team for making it possible to join the team. them, ”Gasol said in a statement.
Very happy to come home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Força Barça! 🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/6CewIY2Bil
– Pau Gasol (@paugasol) February 23, 2021
Barcelona coach Sarunas Jasikevicius was Gasol’s teammate during the 2000-01 season when Barcelona won titles in Baloncesto’s Copa del Rey and Liga ACB. Gasol was MVP of both finals.
On Saturday, Gasol denied reports from Spanish media that he had struck a deal with Barcelona, writing on Twitter that he remained “focused on my recovery and I’m not yet ready to resume competition”.
Gasol tried to regain his physical form to be ready to compete in his fifth Olympic Games. He said last year he had to play this season to give himself a chance to travel to Tokyo. He is a three-time Olympic medalist with Spain.
Gasol, a six-time NBA All-Star, won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers after being traded to Los Angeles from Memphis in 2008. He also played for the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks and has a career average of 17.0. points and 9.2 rebounds.
He last played in the NBA in 2018-19, ending the season with Milwaukee.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.