Not because of the expected news, it ceases to be shocking. Pau Gasol will play for FC Barcelona until the end of the season. The club and the player have given official character to the information that was leaked in the media this past Saturday and that confirms the return of the Barcelona center to the Palau 20 years after leaving to start a splendid career in the NBA marked, among other achievements, with two champion rings with the Lakers.
The return of Pau Gasol to Barça has a huge symbolic and media repercussion for the Barça club, for the ACB League and the Euroleague, the two competitions in which Sarunas Jasikevicius’ team is at stake. And it also has a huge impact for the player himself who, on his return home at 40, will try to extend his career after recovering from a serious injury and a foot operation that has kept him close to two years in the game. dry dock.
His last official meeting dates back to March 2019. Playing for Barça in these coming months is the door to one of the few dreams that he still has to fulfill: competing in Tokyo, in the fifth Olympic Games of a spectacular career.
Leadership and experience
The Barça option is one of the two that Gasol weighed for his return to the courts, although before he explored his options for a new contract in the NBA. The Lakers seemed a good alternative because of their relationship with the franchise, the current presence of his brother Marc and also the injury of Anthony Davis. But that door has not yet opened for the Catalan pivot.
The agreement between Gasol and Barça will be exclusively for this season, for the remaining four months, in a studied operation that benefits both parties. The team led by Jasikevicius will incorporate the experience and leadership of a player like Pau into a very talented dressing room. The objective is none other than to put the Barça team on the path of the great titles again. Since 2014, Barça has not won the ACB League, nor does it qualify for a ‘final four’.
Tucked in by friends
At the Palau Blaugrana, for his part, Pau Gasol will find the ideal environment to regain a good competitive tone and apply to enter Sergio Scariolo’s list for the Olympic event. Without the need to assume a leading role, the 2.16 Barcelona center can provide quality minutes if the injury is completely forgotten as it seems. After a superlative career, with a World Cup (2006) two Olympic silver and one bronze (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016), three European golds (2009, 2011 and 2015), among many other conquests, the Barcelona player wants to close his career in a big way, fighting again for a medal at the Games.
Between the talented young man who was chosen in the number 3 of the 2001 draft and the one who is now returning to Barcelona, married to Cat McDonnell and turned into the father of a family, of little Elisabet Gianna, a lifetime has passed. But Pau Gasol will find many familiar faces on his return to the Palau.
His great friend Juan Carlos Navarro is now responsible for the basketball formative of the Barça. Sarunas Jasikevicius, with whom he met in the Barça dressing room before going to the NBA, is the current coach. Nacho Rodríguez, who was also part of that squad, is the team’s general manager and his teammate, Nikola Mirotic, who spent his time with the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks, is one of the stars of the squad.