Pau Gasol returning to Spain to play for Barca | Pau Gasol, 40, is returning to play in Spain with Barcelona, the team with which he began his professional career.

Pau Gasol returning to Spain to play for Barca

Pau Gasol returning to Spain to play for Barca

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Pau Gasol is returning to Spain to play for Barcelona. The team announced that Gasol's deal runs through June 30, 2021.

The 40-year-old big man began his professional basketball career with Barcelona in 1998-99, spending four seasons with the club before making the jump to the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2001-02 season and was named the league's Rookie of the Year.

"I'm happy to return to the club where I began, and I'm excited about this new opportunity: I hope to contribute to the first team very soon. I want to thank Barca and its technical staff for making it possible to join them," Gasol said in a statement.

On Saturday, Gasol had denied Spanish media reports that he had reached a deal with Barcelona, writing on Twitter that he remained "focused on my recovery and I am not ready to get back to competing just yet.''

Gasol has been trying to regain his fitness to be ready to play in his fifth Olympic Games. He said last year that he needed to be playing this season to give himself a chance of making it to Tokyo. He is a three-time Olympic medalist with Spain.

Gasol, a six-time NBA All-Star, won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers after being traded to Los Angeles from Memphis in 2008. He also played for the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks and has career averages of 17 points and 9.2 rebounds.

He last played in the NBA in the 2018-19, finishing the season with Milwaukee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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