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Lakers News: Analyzing Latest Buzz on Potential Pau Gasol Comeback

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IDecember 10, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol, of Spain, walks down the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, March 6, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Pau Gasol played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2008-14. Now, it's his younger brother's turn to don the purple and gold, as Marc Gasol signed with the team as a free agent earlier this offseason. But down the road, perhaps the elder Gasol will be back in Los Angeles, too.

On Wednesday, ESPN's Zach Lowe reported that Pau is interested in an NBA comeback and is working to try to make that happen. And if the 40-year-old is successful, the Lakers are one of the teams that he considers among his "dream destinations."

However, Lowe also noted that it's "unclear" what Los Angeles' level of interest would be in bringing Pau back. The 18-year NBA veteran last played in the league during the 2018-19 season, when he appeared in 27 games for the San Antonio Spurs and three with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Right now, the Lakers' roster is currently full. They re-signed guard Quinn Cook to take the 15th spot ahead of training camp. However, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports recently reported that Cook's contract is non-guaranteed, meaning it will only become a standard deal if he makes the team.

Would Los Angeles be willing to make room on its roster if it turns out Pau proves he can still contribute to a team? Perhaps that will become clearer in the future. But for now, Pau appears to realize he's not in the spot with power in the situation.

"There is meaning and history there," he said of Los Angeles, per Lowe. "I'm not going to lie. It would be very special, and now that my brother 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."

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Since last appearing in an NBA game in March 2019, Pau told Lowe that he has undergone a pair of surgeries on his left foot to repair stress fractures. He's currently working out and training in Northern California, and although he hasn't played any 5-on-5 games, he's conducted some 2-on-2 contests with local players.

Pau also informed Lowe that he and his agent have "recently discussed training camp deals with some NBA teams," but he wanted to keep conditioning before "seriously engaging in talks."

"I want the opportunity to contribute—to feel needed," he told Lowe. "Not just to be there. That's not who I am. I want to enjoy it, and players usually enjoy playing."

Perhaps that will lead Pau back to Los Angeles, or maybe it won't. But even if he doesn't make his way on to the Lakers' roster again, he's already made his impact on the franchise, having helped them win back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010 and providing solid play over seven seasons with the team.