Pau Gasol Is Working Toward A Return To The NBA And Prefers To Land With The Lakers

When Marc Gasol joined the Lakers in free agency this offseason, many assumed the chance to play in California near where his brother Pau lives was a driving force in his decision. But in an interview with Zach Lowe of ESPN on Wednesday, Pau himself made it known that he is working toward a return to the NBA and would also like to join the Lakers.

Gasol last played in the NBA on March 10, 2019, with the Spurs and is already 40 years old, but told Lowe he is not interested in joining a roster to merely provide veteran leadership at the end of the bench. The two-time NBA champ told Lowe he wants to “feel needed” by whichever team he lands with and is confident he can still contribute.

Since his last NBA game, Gasol has continued to rehab from a left navicular bone fracture that forced him under the knife for two surgeries. He told Lowe he turned down training camp deals this season in order to chart his own course to a team situation he likes, with the Lakers being his top choice.

Alongside a return to the NBA, Gasol also is seeking to join the Spanish National Team at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, which would be his fifth Olympics. That would put Gasol in the company of the legendary Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who have won four gold medals with USA Basketball. Spain, which won the 2019 FIBA World Cup, could have a real shot at earning a medal in Tokyo next year.

After injuries and age forced him out of the league, Gasol’s career was thought to be over, but it’s clear he has been putting in work to get back on the floor and build on his already impressive legacy.