Pau Gasol said that he will decide on whether he will continue playing or retire in the next month or 90s days. The two-time NBA champion and Spanish national team great has been trying to recover his left foot after undergoing surgery for a fracture in 2019.
“This pandemic, along with all the bad that has brought us, is giving me a little more room to rehabilitate the foot and the progression is being positive,” Gasol said in a video interview for Spanish news agency EFE, per Marca. “In the next month or month and a half, my level of exigency on the court will be very high, and there I will find out if I can compete again.”
With the NBA suspended indefinitely and the Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021, Gasol is afforded more time—without missing any potential games—as he recovers from May 2019 foot surgery. “Right now I focus on what I can control, which is trying to get healthy and get my foot right and try to get that bone to heal, which is a difficult bone that didn’t heal the way I expected it to when I joined the [Portland] Trail Blazers,” Gasol said. “I’m just focusing on that—making sure my foot heals and I have the chance potentially to play professional basketball again.”
Remaining at home in Northern California amid the pandemic, Gasol is able to devote as much time as he can to rest, recovery and rehabilitation. He said he typically does a two-hour workout before lunch each day as well as therapy and rehab on his foot. He follows video workouts sent to him by his trainer. “Obviously my life has been affected and my rehab process has been affected, but that doesn’t mean I cannot continue to work out and continue to follow my therapy to the extent I can,” Gasol said. “It’s not ideal, but I can do it at a high level.”
Gasol foresees a future in an executive capacity, wanting to be part of management of a franchise while growing a winning culture. “One step at a time,” Gasol said. “Everything is still up in the air. There’s still so many unknowns, so until we start getting more answers and more clarity from my personal health standpoint and in the professional sports view and stage, it’s too early to put some thought into that.”
With the league's current campaign suspended indefinitely due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, Gasol, who will turn 40 years old in July, is contemplating retirement at this point of his career. "With this recovery process and the injury that I have been dealing with for more than a year, it's undoubtedly inevitable to think about retirement," Gasol said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, via NBC Sports. "Also, taking into account that I will be 40 years old in a few months. So, [retirement] is definitely on my mind."
"It's something that will come one time, sooner or later," Gasol said of retirement. "We hope that time hasn't come yet. But I also take the opportunity to focus on the Gasol Foundation and other off-court projects. And also think of what my next professional stage may be, my next challenges. All this while I'm still recovering, trying to give myself a chance to keep playing. Now, the priority is to overcome this pandemic among all. Everything else is completely secondary."
I always wondered about both you and Mark when you reach the very end of your careers. Would you go back and play a year professionally in Spain, just to kind of round out your career start where you came from? Did that ever interest you? Pau Gasol: Yeah, yeah. No, it had appeal for sure. And interest but, and I said it since I kind of left Spain or FC Barcelona to come to the NBA. But I always kind of said, you know, the longer I play in the NBA, which I love, it's going to be harder for me to go back and play one year in Spain. Marc [Gasol] has said this thing recently that he would love to play us last year in China that he played for before he came to the NBA and it means so much to him, just like Barcelona means to me, but, but we'll see. Maybe works out maybe it's in the books, maybe It's not. Again, it has a certain appeal. But, but I still like to play in the best league with the best players.
Pau Gasol said that thinking about retirement is something “undoubtedly inevitable.” While the Spanish great has been working towards a potential comeback, with the focus of playing at least one more season. “With this recovery process and the injury that I have been dealing with for more than a year, it’s undoubtedly inevitable to think about retirement,” Gasol said in an interview with El Pais. “Also taking into account that I will be 40 years old in a few months. So it’s definitely in my mind.”
“It’s something that will come one time, sooner or later. We hope that time hasn’t come yet. But I also take the opportunity to focus on the Gasol Foundation and other off-court projects. And also think of what my next professional stage may be, my next challenges. All this while I’m still recovering, trying to give myself a chance to keep playing. Now, the priority is to overcome this pandemic among all. Everything else is completely secondary.”
Gasol admitted that there are retirement thoughts circling in his mind. After all, he becomes 40 years old in July. “It’s a possibility that there is there too. I’ll have 40 springs this summer, which is not a small number. I understand that sooner or later, whether this summer, next season or another, my retirement is inevitable. I hope not already,” Gasol added. “I hope that the foot recovers so that it can allow me to play a little more. We will see how much more. Enjoy one last season.”
“I did a treatment at the end of December to improve my chances of recovery,” Gasol said to EFE, per AS. “And now the rehabilitation is going slowly, without the rush and pressure of being on a team. I give it more time and take care of it. I hope everything goes well and I can recover soon.”
Kerry Eggers: Terry Stotts says @Pau Gasol will return to PDX next week after rehabbing his foot in Spain. Will he join Blazers coaching staff? “Depends on his rehab. He’s having some procedures done & that’s taking up his time right now.” Does he still intend to play? “You’ll have to ask him."
39-year-old Pau Gasol has not yet finished his career and was in Porto for another diagnosis. “It’s been an intense few days of travel and medical appointments to gather opinions to make the best decision for my recovery.”, he posted on Instagram.
You're beginning your 19th season in the NBA. You never know if it will be the last one, but you'll turn 40 in 2020. For the first time, your future seems somewhat uncertain. Do you have more doubts than other times? Will it be your last year? Pau Gasol: "I am not worried about the future. I understand that my career is about to end. It is something that I have been assimilating these years. I am sure that my career as a basketball player will end in a little while. It won't be much more, as much as I love playing. There is uncertainty about what will happen after, but I have been training to have different options, objectives and responsibilities. Activity will never be missing. I would like to have space to work with an organisation, a team or an organisation within the sport. I will also look for flexibility to be with my family. For now, I want to continue enjoying this stage as a player, although I know that the chapter, or the book, will end. Then another chapter will begin and we will continue writing good pages."
Is it because as a young man the coaches prompted you to work and now that you have grown older you understand them more? Pau Gasol: "The truth is yes, [laughs]. It could be. All I try is to be useful and contribute, and have a positive impact on the team. The rest is an anecdote." I could see you more as a coach. Pau Gasol: "I would like to have a general life change and more flexibility to dedicate myself to several different things because a coach's job is the player's life, but with more dedication, with less free time and spending more hours. That would allow me to do less. I have many concerns and I want to have time."
All that said, Gasol’s future with the Spurs beyond this season is a mystery. But no matter the outcome of his time in San Antonio, Gasol is not considering retirement. He still believes there is more basketball to be played and plans to do so until he feels ready to step away. “In two summers, I might think about it a little more,” Gasol said. “It might be an option then, maybe. And maybe not because I love what I do. I work my ass off to do what I do at this stage, to keep up with the pace of the game and the progress and the development of the game today. I take pride in that. That’s what makes me who I am.”
Pau Gasol: "I'm not thinking about retirement yet, although I know that it will happen sooner than later."
The Spanish big man recently touched on his playing career, as well as re-signing with the San Antonio Spurs, where he made it clear, he is looking to play as many seasons he can in the NBA. "I want to play the maximum number of seasons, as long as I feel good. I have played 16-years in the NBA and I hope to play some more, but I have to keep working and respect any injuries, as I have so far."
As for re-signing with the Spurs after opting out of his deal, Pau says both sides are looking forward to getting a deal done and is hoping to reach an agreement soon. Pau also spoke on the West getting stronger this offseason, saying the Spurs are still one of the best in the West. "All the teams in the West, especially the top teams, are getting much stronger to compete and try to beat the first level of teams, like the Spurs."
And the biggest question for him is this is his last tournament with the national team. It seems that he has not decided yet if he will retire or not: “I always think it’s going to be my last year, both in the national team and in my NBA team. I love this sport and I love to continue playing at the highest level. The older I become the more complicated it will be for me to be back but I still play at a good level. I would be 40 years old in the next Olympic Games and I’ve been already many games for many years. During next season I’ll assess how I feel and if I will play with the national team or not. Things can change pretty quick”
December 3, 2020 | 12:12 am EST Update
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