Reports Contradict of Gasol's Departure to Spain
Former Toronto Raptors centre Marc Gasol will reportedly return home to Spain and sign with FCB Barcelona, according to Sergi Carmona.
This report has been contradicted by Barcelona coach Sarunas Jasikevicius who reportedly told Gigantes del Basket that the club has not spoken to Gasol, according to Emiliano Carchia.
The 35-year-old Gasol spent two seasons in Toronto, averaging 8.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 70 games. In 2018-19, he helped lead the Raptors to an NBA championship, manning the paint against some of the NBA's top interior scorers.
This past season saw Gasol take a step back as he struggled to stay healthy for much of the year. He played in just 44 games, averaging 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.
After the Raptors Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics, Gasol said he wanted to return home and see his family before engaging in contract discussions with the team.
"After everything, every ounce of energy is put into this game and given the circumstances that we've been on for the past few months, all you think about right now is trying to get to your family," he said. "Whenever that process starts, as far as thinking goes, we'll start making those decisions when the time comes. But right now, honestly, every ounce of energy I had and mind, was into just the next day."
Raptors president Masai Ujiri previously said re-signing Gasol was a "priority" for the team during the offseason. Ujiri wanted to bring back both Gasol and Serge Ibaka, who are both entering free agency this fall.
Gasol, who is from Barcelona, began his professional basketball career in 2003 with Barcelona before leaving for CB Girona in 2006 and then joining the NBA in 2008.
This story has been updated with new reporting from Spain.