After the Trail Blazers waived Pau Gasol back in November when he was unable to successfully recover from left foot surgery, Gasol will return to the court in Barcelona.
Per RealGM, Gasol is expected to resume his basketball career in his hometown and sign a one-year deal with FC Barcelona.
Gasol, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Monday with the Bryant family, did not play for Portland after inking a one-year deal with the Blazers last July. In a video on Instagram, the 18-year-veteran explained that rehab from his foot surgery had taken longer than expected, and that he expected to stay with the Trail Blazers franchise in some capacity.
I have the same excitement and passion for the game of basketball that I had when I first started playing, and I will work as hard as I can on my recovery with a clear goal in mind: To get healthy in order to continue to play the game that I love. -- Pau Gasol
[Listen to the Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Blazers TV analyst Lamar Hurd].
While many believed Gasol would retire, Portland coach Terry Stotts told reporters that the former All-Star big man would rejoin the team last November as an assistant coach.
During a visit to Rip City in December, it was revealed that Gasol needed more work on his foot and would be returning to Spain, as reported by NBCSNW’s Mike Richman. His goal was to rehab to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Now that the Olympics have been moved to 2021, Gasol has decided his professional basketball career isn’t over just yet.
Gasol, a two-time NBA champion and six-time All-Star, has played 18 seasons since being drafted third-overall by Memphis in 2001. He is one of just four players with over 20,000 points, 11,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists and 1,500 blocks in his career, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
He also boasts three EuroBasket gold medals and a 2006 FIBA World Championship MVP trophy.