Pau Gasol want to play the world Cup from August 31 to September 15 in China and help Spain obtain the ticket to dispute the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, the ideal date to say goodbye to professional basketball. In July of that year he will have turned 40 and will have expired the contract he has signed with San Antonio Spurs.
"As long as I'm healthy, my intention is to be in the World Cup and play with the national team. I like to play with my country, make a good championship and help get the ticket for the Olympic Games once again, "said the Spanish center on the official page of the NBA. He confirms in this way what he insinuated after his last journey with the Spanish basketball team, when he won the bronze medal in the European Championship in September 2017 in Istanbul. "Compete, have the ambition to win … When you have an opportunity to get something special you have to pursue it, give it everything. It's something we've done for many years in the national team, " he said then in an interview with EL PAÍS. Now the added that slipped then: "We will see" has vanished.
Disputing what would be his fifth Olympic Games is a great incentive for him. He was in Athens 2004 (7th place), Beijing 2008 (silver), London 2012 (silver) and Rio de Janeiro 2016 (bronze). It could not be in the Sydney-2000. He already excelled, like other colleagues of his generation, but the then coach, Lolo Sainz, preferred to delay his incorporation to the national team in which he did debut in those Games Juan Carlos Navarro and Raúl López.
The new configuration of the competitive system established by the International Federation underlines the importance of the World Cup, where seven places will be awarded for the 2020 Olympic Games, two of them for the two best-ranked European teams in China. If Spain were not among them, and depending on the position that occupies finally, should win one of the four pre-Olympic tournaments that will be played in the summer of 2020 to compete in the Games.
Pau Gasol does not go through a good time with your team The season began with the first nine games from the bench. On November 4 he suffered an injury to his left foot. He reappeared on December 31, but since then only averaged two points, 4.2 rebounds and 10 minutes in the nine games he has played, four as a starter. In three other games he has not even played. Nothing to do with his career in his 18 seasons in the NBA where he averages, 17.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 33.7 minutes.
Three days ago, in a statement to The Athletic, he explained: "I'm trying to adjust and keep things in perspective. Everything has a positive side. I am happy that my foot reacts well and, hopefully, I will have the opportunity to take advantage of my minutes and my contribution to the team. Will I love to play more and have a more important role? Absolutely, because that's the kind of player, I'm competitive. But at the same time, I follow the coach's instructions, and I have to play a role, whatever that role may be. That's what they pay you for and it's part of your work as a player. " Pau has signed a contract with the Spurs for which he receives 16.8 million dollars this season and 16 million for the next, although if he were cut then he would only be guaranteed 6.7 million.