The Spanish club will ink the 40-year old to a contract for the remainder of the 2020/21 season. Gasol’s primary motivation for going to Barcelona is to get back in shape for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.
Still, the signing is surprising because Gasol had previously denied his reunion with the Spanish powerhouse right after the president of the club Josep Maria Bartomeu said that he wants to see Gasol in a Barcelona jersey again.
Gasol will be in a familiar environment because he started his professional career in the Catalan club after his games propelled him to the NBA and the Memphis Grizzlies. He stayed in Barça for three years, from 1998 to 2001. Then the Hawks selected him in the 2001 NBA draft from the third place and drafted his draft rights to the Grizzlies. Gasol played 1.226 NBA games with the Grizzlies, LA Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and San Antonio Spurs. In his 18-year career, the older brother Gasol averaged 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
His most lustrous moments came with the Lakers when he won back-to-back championship titles (2009, 2010). Gasol and Kobe Bryant formed a strong connection from the moment the Spaniard came from Memphis. That bond lasted long after he left the Lakers, and he and Kobe became great friends outside of the court. Gasol was also rookie of the year, and he was selected to the All-Star game six times.
He was a free agent since November after the Portland Trail Blazers waived him. The will to still play in the NBA was still there, but the injuries have kept him away from the basketball courts.
However, Gasol wants a proper goodbye, and the approaching of the Olympic games seems like a great opportunity. Pau is determined to represent the Spanish national team in Tokyo.
One other thing that perfectly describes Pau’s drive is that he will not get paid from Barcelona; he just wants to get back in shape, Mundo Deportivo reports.