Pau Gasol is working towards what he hopes shall be an NBA comeback and a spot on Spain’s Olympic workforce in Tokyo, the six-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion advised ESPN on Wednesday.
Gasol, 40, has recognized the Los Angeles Lakers as one in every of his dream locations.
“There’s which means and historical past there,” mentioned Gasol, who received titles with the Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant in 2009 and 2010. “I am not going to lie. It might be very particular, and now that my brother [Marc] is there, much more particular. However I am not able now to be very demanding. I haven’t got 10 provides on the desk.”
Marc Gasol, Pau’s youthful brother by 4½ years, signed a two-year, $5.25 million cope with the Lakers final month.
Pau Gasol has not appeared in a sport since March 2019 and has undergone two surgical procedures since then to restore stress fractures within the navicular bone in his left foot, he advised ESPN. Medical doctors first found the stress response within the fall of 2018, when Gasol was starting his third season with the San Antonio Spurs, he mentioned.
Gasol and his agent lately mentioned coaching camp offers with some NBA groups, however Gasol most well-liked to do extra conditioning earlier than severely partaking in talks, he mentioned. He has been coaching in Northern California, the place he’s dwelling together 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 would like the chance to contribute — to really feel wanted,” Gasol mentioned. “Not simply to be there. That is not who I’m. I wish to take pleasure in it, and gamers often take pleasure in taking part in.”
The Lakers’ stage of curiosity in a Gasol reunion is unclear. Gasol has not performed 5-on-5 since present process surgical procedure, he mentioned. He has arrange 2-on-2 video games with native gamers, together with a former Stanford participant and an worker of an NBA workforce who spends offseasons within the Bay Space, Gasol mentioned.
Gasol has organized for exercise companions to obtain weekly coronavirus testing and has them put on masks throughout contact drills, he mentioned. Between classes, he requests his exercise companions stay vigilant about social distancing, sporting masks and different protecting measures. Increasing past just a few exercise companions has been tough through the pandemic.
“It is not like we live in a bubble,” Gasol mentioned.
Nonetheless, full-contact drills are a great distance from the place Gasol’s rehab started after the 2 procedures in 2019. At first, he may put nearly no weight on his foot. He needed to strengthen it with primary workout routines: curling his toes round a towel positioned on the ground after which utilizing his toes to select up a pen and put it again down a number of instances in a row, he mentioned.
He proceeded right into a strolling boot after which to strolling on tender surfaces like grass and sand.
“There have been good days after which arduous days the place you say, ‘Is that this actually price it? Possibly it is time to let go,'” Gasol mentioned.
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 — broadly derided on the time — that included Marc, who was then taking part in 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 commerce for him. When the Grizzlies exchanged Gasols seven months later, one member of Memphis’ administration workforce joked with Pau, “‘We lastly acquired [Marc], thanks, Pau!,'” the elder Gasol recalled. “I mentioned, ‘Effectively, that is not precisely how I envisioned it.'”
The brothers mentioned the place Marc would possibly signal throughout his latest free-agency interval.
“He had a number of groups that had been ,” Pau Gasol mentioned of his brother. “What he valued most was the chance to win one other championship. To play for the Lakers — it is such a singular franchise. It is the chance of a lifetime, and it’s extremely particular for us to be the primary brothers to play for the Lakers.”
“It might be unbelievable if it finally ends up occurring the place I can be a part of the workforce in some unspecified time in the future,” Gasol added.
Gasol has additionally questioned whether or not he would take pleasure in taking part in in any type of bubble atmosphere that might take him away from his spouse and their daughter, Elisabet Gianna Gasol, whose center identify Gasol and McDonnell selected as a tribute to Bryant and his late 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
However Gasol is set to take one other shot on the NBA. He has spoken earlier than of presumably ending his profession with FC Barcelona, the place he starred earlier than coming to the US, however has persistently mentioned he would favor to stay within the NBA.
After that, the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo loom. Gasol has performed for Spain’s nationwide workforce in 4 consecutive Olympics, serving to them 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 have the ability to play 5 Olympics would simply be extraordinary,” Gasol mentioned.
As soon as he retires, Gasol would have curiosity in working for an NBA workforce in some capability, he mentioned. He is simply not prepared for that but.
“I would like to be on an NBA roster in some unspecified time in the future once more — and possibly not too removed from now,” Gasol mentioned.