After months of rumors and speculation, former NBA big man and multi-time All-Star Pau Gasol has confirmed his interest in returning to the world's top basketball league for the 2020-21 campaign. As reported by ESPN's Zach Lowe, the 40-year-old is actively working toward a comeback and also has hopes of once again competing for his native Spain in the upcoming Olympic Games.
While Gasol confessed that he hasn't exactly been flooded with offers from NBA teams, he didn't mince words about where he'd like to be playing if it were solely up to him. According to the report, he identified one of his former teams -- the Los Angeles Lakers -- as the ideal landing spot.
"There is meaning and history there," he said. "I'm not going to lie. It would be very special, and now that my brother [Marc Gasol] 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.".
The Barcelona native, who made the big move stateside back in 2001, spent six-and-a-half seasons with the Lakers from 2008 to 2014. During his time there, he played a major part in helping the storied franchise regain some of its former glory, combining with Kobe Bryant to lead the club to back-to-back league titles in 2009 and 2010.
In addition to being teammates with Bryant, Gasol and the late Lakers legend maintained a strong friendship off the court. Since Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a January helicopter crash, Gasol has kept in close contact with Vanessa Bryant and the couple's surviving children.
Over the weekend, Gasol took to Instagram to wish Bianka Bryant a happy fourth birthday, attaching a recent photo of himself with his former teammate's young daughter. The post can be viewed here.
As shared by The Inquisitr, Gasol had indicated in October that he would be upping his activity on the basketball court over a series of weeks in an effort to make a determination on whether he could still compete at a high level. At that point, the 18-year NBA veteran had been working for over a year to rehab a left foot injury.
He hasn't seen live action in the regular season since an ill-fated, three-game stint with the Milwaukee Bucks in March 2019.
Still, Gasol has arguably been one of the best frontcourt players in all of basketball over the last two decades. As tracked by Basketball-Reference, he has averaged 17 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 blocks per contest over more than 1,200 career games.
He currently ranks in the top 30 in league history in total rebounds, blocked shots and minutes played.