I want to communicate that I continue to focus on my recovery and that I am not ready to get back on track yet. When I have something to announce, I will do it through my social networks. Pau Gasol tried on Saturday night to get out of the media volcano, already uncontrollable. Barcelona, at the expense of making it public at the beginning of next week, has agreed with the 40-year-old pivot to join the Barca discipline until the end of the season, at which time the player will try to get ready with the hope of playing the Tokyo Olympics. But the legendary basketball player, with the caution of someone who has not played a game for two years, prefers to set the times well. And to protect oneself against the temptation of those who think that, by wearing the Barça shirt, it will be to become a bastion for Sarunas Jasikevicius’ team. Your role will not be that. He will train and if the day comes when he finally feels ready, he will try to offer one last service. No pressure.
Pau Gasol, who has been everything in the sport for the last two decades, returns to his origins. To Barcelona, a club he reached at age 16 from Cornella and with which he played two seasons in the first team. Who knows what would have happened if Rony Seikaly, that former NBA star, a friend of Bertín Osborne, and star signing of Aíto García Renesas from the 2000-01 season had not crossed the lines. What perhaps neither Barcelona nor Pau Gasol himself would have expected is that the first clue of his return to Europe 20 years later would be given by Toni Freixa, candidate for the presidency. One more consequence of the misrule that prevails in a club that, however, has found an oasis in its basketball section. The executive’s Nacho Rodríguez and Albert Soler, despite the entity’s economic asphyxia, have managed to lay the foundations for a project that cannot be compared on the continent. According to the club’s memory, Barca has budgeted for this season 34.16 million euros in the basketball squad, where players such as Mirotic, Calathes, Higgins, Davies, or Abrines live.
THE ECONOMIC FACTOR
The economic factor has been decisive, given that the one who will sign the Pau Gasol contract will be the Management Commission chaired by Carles Tusquets. Although former president Bartomeu ruled out in August the operation for a player who has earned $ 225,322,981 million in his NBA career – “Barca could hardly pay what he charges” -, things have changed. In large part because Gasol still doesn’t know if he will be able to fulfill the competitive routine of the first team. So much so that the pivot is willing to sign for the minimum salary that marks the collective agreement of the ACB and the Players Association for basketball players over 26 years (68,337 euros). According to Mundo Deportivo, even Gasol would only receive the proportional part until the end of the season. Gasol, yes, already signed in 2009 an agreement with remuneration with Barcelona by which he became a strategic advisor, global ambassador, and partner of the Barça club in the United States.
For the double NBA champion with the Lakers to have agreed to return to Barcelona until the end of the season, very specific interests had to be crossed. Pau Gasol has not played a game since March 2, 2019. That is, for two years. Last time it was 14 minutes with the Bucks. A stress fracture of the navicular bone in his left foot, on which he has undergone surgery twice, already prevented the first attempt at redemption when he signed for the Blazers in July 2019, a franchise that cut him without having debuted. Pau Gasol has been increasing the demands of his training sessions in California for weeks. But while he was clear that he would fight until the last moment to avoid withdrawal with the Games on the horizon, he was also aware that he would not find a better setting for his set-up than Palau.
Sarunas Jasikevicius, with whom Pau Gasol coincided one season at Barça, has given the go-ahead even knowing that his integration into the games if it ends up taking place, will not be easy. Even more so given the physical demand that the Lithuanian is imposing on his team, with high defensive activity on the part of his players. Gasol, by the way, will be able to be registered in the Euroleague, whose deadline for the incorporation of players who have not played continental tournaments this season ends on February 24. Pau will once again walk through the tunnels of Palau, which are brighter than when he went through them with Juan Carlos Navarro. He also awaits you now, not as a partner in mischief, but as a training coordinator Life.