Pau Gasol‘s last game was on March 10, 2019, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks. Since then, he’s been dealing with a left navicular bone fracture that forced him under the knife for two surgeries. When a 39-year-old seven-footer suffers a broken foot, you assume that’s the end of his career. Assume again.
Gasol’s been quietly rehabbing his foot and putting in the work to contribute in a meaningful way. That part’s important to Gasol; he doesn’t want to be the veteran at the end of the bench to provide guidance and experience. That part’s important, but not enough for Pau. He wants to “feel needed” by whichever team he lands with and is confident he can still contribute.
These aren’t just his wishes. Pau’s had interest from several teams that offered him to join their training camps but passed on the opportunity. Gasol wants to set his own course and pick a team and the role he likes. Who’s at the top of his list? That’s right, the LA Lakers.
The Lakers have three players on their roster to play the center position. Anthony Davis, Montrezl Harrell, and Pau’s younger brother Marc Gasol. Using another roster spot and veteran minimum on a fourth center would be overkill in today’s NBA. Still, it would be cool to see the Gasol brothers play together, at least for a game.
His plans don’t stop at playing for the Lakers. The COVID-19 pandemic provided a silver lining for Pau. The Tokyo Olympics were pushed a year, giving him time to heal, get in shape, and work his way to a roster spot with the Spanish National Team. If he succeeds, the Tokyo Olympics would be his fifth, adding to an already impressive career.
While I don’t think a contract with the Lakers is likely, maybe the combination of Marc being there and his legacy with the Lakers land him an opportunity and we all get a lovely surprise.