By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Spanish national team head coach Sergio Scariolo said that Pau Gasol will need to spend a certain amount of period playing competitive basketball to be fully ready to participate in the 2021 Olympic Games.
“Obviously, being in Tokyo involves playing a few months of competition in a team,” Scariolo said in an interview with AS after the completion of the 2022 EuroBasket Qualifiers. Spain closed the February window with two wins vs. Poland and Israel to finish the stage with a qualifying record 4-2 in Group A.
Gasol, 40, has been reported to be signing with Barcelona and return to the Blaugrana and European basketball after 20 years. The former two-time NBA champion, who hasn’t played a game in nearly two years, reacted to the reports by saying that he’s not yet ready to get back to competing and that if he joins a team he will announce it on social media.
Scariolo didn’t comment specifically on the reports about Gasol and Barcelona but mentioned that he looks forward to seeing the Spanish superstar returning to action.
“Well, I can make an official comment when it is not a rumor,” Scariolo said. “I’ve never done it and I’m not going to do it now. I can only repeat that, whether in a personal capacity as a friend, or in a professional capacity as a coach, I can’t wish for anything other than to see him play official games with continuity and at a good level, at Barca or with the team he considers. Hopefully we can see him soon and I repeat, continuously, at a good level. I’m not talking about Pau from 2015, obviously. People must understand that you have to be patient and support the efforts that Pau is making and see what he can achieve. Hopefully, a good level in this final part of the season.”
The EuroLeague transfer deadline expires on February 24. If Gasol signs with Barcelona after that date, he will be eligible to participate only in the Spanish ACB League.