Barcelona exec: Club could not afford to pay Gasol

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The president of Spanish club Barcelona wanted to sign NBA free agent center/forward Pau Gasol and felt like it had a chance. But there was a sticking point.

Namely, Barcelona decided it could afford him.

He is a person who has helped us a lot, he is an ambassador for Barcelona and represents us in the United States," team president Josep María Bartomeu told Barca TV. "He is a star of the NBA and Barça could hardly pay what he would cost to the club."

Gasol Barcelona were reportedly closing in on a one-year contract in early July. But things apparently fell apart, and now we know why.

So it's back to free agency for Gasol, who likely is done with the NBA -- and perhaps pro basketball entirely. Word is, he does at least intend to play for Spain in the 2021 Olympics.

Gasol, 40, is 7-foot-0 and a native of Barcelona. He played with the club from 1998-2001, before being selected by the Atlanta Hawks with the No. 3 overall pick. He was quickly traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, the team with which he spent seven seasons.

The six-time All-Star was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2002 and won championships as a member of the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers (2009, '10). He also spent time with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

Gasol appeared in three games with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2019, before being sidelined with a left ankle injury that required surgery. Gasol then signed with the Portland Trail Blazers last July. He was waived in November.

Gasol carries career averages of 17.0 points on 51 percent shooting and 9.2 rebounds. He has won 11 medals as a member of Spain's national team in international competitions.