Pau Gasol hopeful for NBA return, chance to play for Spain at Olympics

Garrett Ellwood / National Basketball Association / Getty

Thirty-nine-year-old free-agent center Pau Gasol hopes to play for his native Spain at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer, and - if his body allows - possibly even the NBA next season, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

"I'm rehabbing. That's my status," Gasol told ESPN at the Rising Stars Challenge in Chicago on Friday. "I'm in rehab right now just focusing solely on prioritizing getting my foot healed so I can get out there and try to play again."

Gasol has represented Spain in each of the past four Olympic basketball tournaments dating back to Athens 2004, capturing two silver medals and a bronze in the process.

Splitting last season between the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, Gasol averaged 3.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 12 minutes per game. However, injuries held him out of lineup past March 10, including the Bucks' run to the Eastern Conference finals.

Gasol ultimately underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot on May 10.

Though he signed a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers this summer, Gasol's recovery from his foot surgery proved unsuccessful. Portland waived him in November before he could make an appearance with the team.

At this point, Gasol recognizes retirement isn't out of the question.

"I mean, it's a possibility. You can't really disregard (retirement) because of the injury," he said. "I'm not a young kid anymore, especially in basketball years."

Pau Gasol hopeful for NBA return, chance to play for Spain at Olympics
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