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Gasol will return home to play for Girona of LEB Oro, which is the second division of Spanish basketball. The big man is the team’s owner and founder.
Gasol made the announcement Thursday, per Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net.
This comes after the Memphis Grizzlies announced on Sept. 15 they waived the veteran after acquiring him from the Los Angeles Lakers via trade. NBA reporter Marc Stein noted at the time that the move was done so Gasol could play in Spain.
Prior to the move being made official, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Grizzlies planned on working with Gasol to formulate a plan that allowed him to remain in Spain with his family for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.
Gasol began playing professionally in Spain in 2003 before he started his NBA career on the Grizzlies in 2008-09. He came to Memphis as part of a trade that sent his brother Pau to the Lakers.
Going back to the Grizzlies and then being waived looked like a potential full-circle moment for Gasol considering that is where he started his NBA career, but he did tell reporters in August he planned on coming back for a 13th season and finishing his contract with the Lakers.
He played his first 10 full seasons in Memphis and was traded to the Toronto Raptors in his 11th in 2018-19. He helped lead the Raptors to the championship that year as a veteran presence and then played for Toronto again in 2019-20 before suiting up for the Lakers in 2020-21.
Gasol is a three-time All-Star, two-time All-NBA selection and two-time Olympic silver medalist who won the 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year.
He is also a Grizzlies legend who ranks first in rebounds, first in blocks, second in points, second in games played, second in assists and third in steals on the franchise’s all-time list.
However, he assumed more of a secondary role for the 2020-21 Lakers and averaged 5.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. The totals were well below his career averages of 14.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 blocks a night.
While his prime is in the rearview mirror at this point, he still joins Girona as someone who can extend his game beyond the arc to open up the paint, facilitate from the high elbow and help control the boards.