Nikola Mirotic welcomes old friend Pau Gasol to Barcelona

Former Bucks forward Nikola Mirotic looks to pass vs. the 76ers. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

NBA champion and All-Star power forward Pau Gasol has signed on with Spanish club Barcelona, and new teammate Nikola Mirotic is welcoming Gasol with open arms.

“WELCOME BROTHER! Looking forward to the recovery going well to share minutes on the court with a legend like you,” Mirotic tweeted in Spanish.

Gasol and Mirotic have long been close. They spent time in the NBA with both the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, and have been star teammates for the Spanish national team.

“I’m back home,” Gasol said in a video released on social media.

There had been some back and forth between Gasol and Barcelona for most of the offseason — with reports surfacing that Gasol had intended to join the team as early as July.

Gasol later denied that he was going to join, and Barcelona’s owner diplomatically said the team could not afford the former All-Star and NBA champion.

“I’m happy to return to the club where I began, and I’m excited about this new opportunity,” Gasol said. “I hope to contribute to the first team very soon.”

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 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.

Mirotic, 30, is 6-10 and spent time in the NBA with the Bulls, Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans from 2014-19. He has played with Barcelona ever since.

About the Author

Sam Amico
Sam Amico is the founder and senior writer of FortyEight Minutes. He has covered the NBA on a full-time basis for OutKick, Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, and has been a regular contributor to CBS Sports, the Boston Herald and NBA.com.

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