Pau Gasol had hoped to play one more season with the Portland Trail Blazers but an injury prevented him from doing that. Aware that the team needed healthy bodies for the 2019-20 NBA season, the Blazers waived Gasol so he could focus on recovering from his injury. The 39-year-old is dealing with a navicular stress fracture which dates back to the 2018-29 season.
Gasol's recovery time was between 6 to 12 months. With the two-time NBA champion already hitting the 12-month mark, there is no telling if he has recovered from it fully and will be ready to play basketball once more. Aside from his injury, the six-time NBA All-Star will need to factor in his age. He will be turning 40 by July and most teams may not be willing to take a risk on him anymore.
Given those circumstances, Gasol is aware that the window of opportunity of resuming NBA play for him is getting bleaker. In an interview with daily newspaper El Pais, The third overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft admits that retiring is now lingering in his mind.
“With this recovery process and the injury that I have been dealing with for more than a year, it’s undoubtedly inevitable to think about retirement. Also, taking into account that I will be 40 years old in a few months. So, it’s definitely on my mind,” Gasol said.
Gasol will likely make a decision depending on how free agency goes for him once the current NBA season is over. There are a lot of idle players in the market, some younger and who can still be developed. There is also the 2020 NBA Draft where several new big men could be preferred by NBA teams. In all, the 7-foot-1 player faces tough odds ahead as far as getting one more chance to play pro ball and wrapping up his career on a bright note.
It cannot be discounted as well if some of his former teams give him a chance to end his NBA career with a farewell tour. The Memphis Grizzlies, the first team he played for, could be a possibility although seeing his usual minutes is highly unlikely.
Gasol holds NBA career averages of 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists per Basketball-Reference.com. The last time he put up credible numbers was when he was still with the San Antonio Spurs from 2016-2018. His performance took a serious dip when injuries started to occur. In his last year with the Spurs, he managed only 4.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in only 12.2 minutes of action in the 2018-19 season.