Pau Gasol denies return to Barcelona. For now.

On Saturday, Pau Gasol denied Spanish media reports that he has reached a deal to return to Spain to play for Barcelona.

Gasol said on Twitter he remains “focused on my recovery, and I am not ready to get back to competing just yet.”

In Spain, media reports said he had chosen to return to the team where he began his career in the late 1990s.

The 40-year-old Pau 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.

“As soon as I have something to announce, I will do so via my social media channels,” said Gasol, who has been out of action for almost two years after undergoing foot surgery.

Pau Gasol

On Thursday, the three-time Olympic medalist with Spain posted a video of him training. He said he was “every week feeling better and stronger!”

Spanish media had earlier reported that Gasol would sign a minimum contract. In the Spanish ACB, that means that any player aged over 26 must earn a gross salary of 68,337 euros, which in this case is less than half of that amount given the progress of the 2020-21 season over the midway mark. Gasol’s contract would not include an option for the next season, confirming his intention to retire following the Tokyo Games.

It’s worth noting the deadline for EuroLeague teams to add players is expiring on Wednesday, February 24.

That could mean that Barcelona might indeed have reached an agreement with Pau Gasol but that his actual return to the basketball court would come at a much later date. In other words, it might be true that Gasol is returning to Barcelona, but whether that is only on paper or in an actual game remains to be seen.

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