Pau Gasol signs an autograph upon arrival in Barcelona.ALBERT GEA / Reuters
The 40-year-old center from Sant Boi returns to the club he left in 2001 to start a long and successful career in the NBA. Pau's last team in the NBA was Portland, although, due to his injury, he did not even play with him and ended up terminating the contract by mutual agreement in November 2019. The last game he played in the NBA was on October 10. March of that year with the Milwaukee Bucks. In May 2019, he underwent surgery by Dr. Robert Anderson, in Wisconsin.
The signing of Pau Gasol transcended on February 20, although it became official three days later. "I want to be able to contribute to the ambitious project and make myself available to the coach to join this team and the magnificent work they are developing," said the center of Sant Boi that day. "I want to put my skills and experience at his disposal at a key moment of the season as I continue to progress in my physical condition and begin to pick up the pace of competition."
The doubts about the performance that Pau Gasol can offer are proportional to the long period of inactivity that he accumulates. Before undergoing surgery in May 2019, the injury only allowed him to play 30 games, with an average of 12 minutes, in the 2018-2019 season, which began with the San Antonio Spurs and ended with the Milwaukee Bucks. "I hope to be able to join training as soon as possible," he said on the 23rd through the networks, "and we will assess together with the coach, the coaching staff and the medical teams (mine and the club's) my progress within of the team and my contribution to the court. ”
On Monday, before starting the trip from San Francisco to Barcelona, Pau Gasol sent another message in which he thanked Juan Carlos Navarro, technical secretary of training basketball and former partner and personal friend of Pau, and coach Saras Jasikevicius, for their "work" and "confidence" and for making his return a reality. The player has signed a contract with Barça until June 2021 and his goal is, in addition to qualifying for the Euroleague and La Liga titles, to play the Tokyo Olympics with the Spanish team starting on July 23. : Elpais