Pau Gasol returns to Spain to play for Barcelona, and the team announced that his contract runs until June 30.
The 40-year-old big man began his professional basketball career with Barcelona in 1998-99, spending three seasons in the ACB League with the club and playing for the team in the inaugural Euroleague season (2000-01), before to take the leap. 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 am happy to return to the club where I started, and I am excited about this new opportunity: I hope to contribute to the first team very soon. I want to thank Barça and its coaching staff for making their incorporation possible,” 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 the King’s Basketball Cup and the ACB League. Gasol was MVP of both finals.
On Saturday, Gasol had denied Spanish media reports that he had reached an agreement with Barcelona, writing on Twitter that he was still “focused on my recovery and I’m not ready to go back to racing yet.”
Gasol has been trying to regain his fitness to be ready for his fifth Olympics. He said last year that he needed to play this season to get a chance to get 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 the 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.
Associated Press contributed to this report.