Pau Gasol is working towards what he hopes will probably be an NBA comeback and a spot on Spain’s Olympic team in Tokyo, the six-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion instructed ESPN on Wednesday.
Gasol, 40, has recognized the Los Angeles Lakers as one of his dream locations.
“There is meaning and history there,” stated Gasol, who received titles with the Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant in 2009 and 2010. “I’m not going to lie. It would be very special, and now that my brother [Marc] is there, even more special. But I’m not in a position now to be very demanding. I don’t have 10 offers on the table.”
Marc Gasol, Pau’s youthful brother by 4½ years, signed a two-year, $5.25 million take care of the Lakers final month.
Pau Gasol has not appeared in a game since March 2019 and has undergone two surgical procedures since then to restore stress fractures within the navicular bone in his left foot, he instructed ESPN. Doctors first found the stress response within the fall of 2018, when Gasol was starting his third season with the San Antonio Spurs, he stated.
Gasol and his agent lately mentioned training camp offers with some NBA teams, however Gasol most well-liked to do extra conditioning earlier than severely participating in talks, he stated. He has been training in Northern California, the place he’s dwelling along with his spouse, Catherine McDonnell, and their 3-month-old daughter, as he hopes to play once more within the NBA as greater than a glorified coach.
“I want the opportunity to contribute — to feel needed,” Gasol stated. “Not just to be there. That’s not who I am. I want to enjoy it, and players usually enjoy playing.”
The Lakers’ degree of curiosity in a Gasol reunion is unclear. Gasol has not performed 5-on-5 since present process surgical procedure, he stated. He has set up 2-on-2 games with native players, together with a former Stanford player and an worker of an NBA team who spends offseasons within the Bay Area, Gasol stated.
Gasol has organized for exercise companions to obtain weekly coronavirus testing and has them put on masks throughout contact drills, he stated. Between classes, he requests his exercise companions stay vigilant about social distancing, carrying masks and different protecting measures. Expanding past a couple of exercise companions has been troublesome through the pandemic.
“It’s not like we are living in a bubble,” Gasol stated.
Still, full-contact drills are a great distance from the place Gasol’s rehab started after the two procedures in 2019. At first, he may put virtually no weight on his foot. He needed to strengthen it with primary workouts: curling his toes round a towel positioned on the floor after which utilizing his toes to select up a pen and put it again down a number of times in a row, he stated.
He progressed to carrying a strolling boot after which to strolling on gentle surfaces like grass and sand.
“There were good days and then hard days where you say, ‘Is this really worth it? Maybe it’s time to let go,'” Gasol stated.
The Gasol brothers had been traded for one another in 2008, when the Memphis Grizzlies swapped the elder Gasol to the Lakers for a bundle — extensively derided on the time — that included Marc, who was then enjoying abroad.
Pau Gasol had tried to persuade Grizzlies administration to draft Marc in 2007 then, as soon as the Lakers picked him forty eighth, to trade for him. When the Grizzlies exchanged Gasols seven months later, one member of Memphis’ administration team joked with Pau, “‘We finally got [Marc], thank you, Pau!'” the elder Gasol recalled. “I said, ‘Well, that’s not exactly how I envisioned it.'”
The brothers mentioned the place Marc would possibly sign throughout his latest free-agency interval.
“He had several teams that were interested,” Pau Gasol stated of his brother. “What he valued most was the opportunity to win another championship. To play for the Lakers — it’s such a unique franchise. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, and it’s very special for us to be the first brothers to play for the Lakers.”
“It would be incredible if it ends up happening where I can join the team at some point,” Gasol added.
Gasol has additionally puzzled whether or not he would take pleasure in enjoying in any type of bubble atmosphere that might take him away from his spouse and their daughter, Elisabet Gianna Gasol, whose center title Gasol and McDonnell selected as a tribute to Bryant and his late 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
But Gasol is decided to take another shot on the NBA. He has spoken earlier than of probably ending his career with FC Barcelona, the place he starred earlier than coming to the United States, however has persistently stated he would favor to stay within the NBA.
— ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) December 9, 2020
After that, the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo loom. Gasol has performed for Spain’s nationwide team in 4 consecutive Olympics, serving to it to silver medals in 2008 and 2012 and bronze in 2016. Gasol was injured final yr when Spain received the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
“To be able to play five Olympics would just be extraordinary,” Gasol stated.
Once he retires, Gasol would have curiosity in working for an NBA team in some capability, he stated. He’s simply not prepared for that but.
“I’d love to be on an NBA roster at some point again — and maybe not too far from now,” Gasol stated.