With training camp set to begin on Tuesday and assuming Anthony Davis eventually re-signs at some point, the Los Angeles Lakers only really have one roster spot left that they can use, at least until midseason. And with the reports that they’re looking for one more center behind Marc Gasol, it would not be surprising at this point to see them bring back a familiar face: His brother — and two-time Lakers champion — Pau Gasol.
What makes me say that? Well, there is starting to be enough smoke here that it feels like if there’s not fire, there is at least some warmth. Marc said after he signed in L.A. that Pau would “love” to come back and play for the Lakers, which feels slightly calculated, and Pau — who is living in Los Angeles — has previously said that finishing his career with the Lakers would be “appealing.”
Pau even took the rare step of posting the equivalent of a basketball thirst trap last week, something he doesn’t do very often:
Now, it’s worth noting that Pau has considered retirement after injuries doomed his stint with the Portland Trail Blazers, but just last week he liked a tweet suggesting he should retire as a Laker. The door seems to be open, at least on his end, and judging by LeBron James’ recent comments, it seems like it might be on the Lakers’ end, too.
James recently appeared on the “Road Trippin” podcast/TV Show — which will air in full on Spectrum SportsNet tonight at 8 p.m. PT — and when host Allie Clifton asked him about Pau, he seemed to verbally wink and nod at the possibility:
Clifton: Do you think Pau is coming back?
James: We’ll see. We’ll see. Maybe I... We’ll see.
"@MarcGasol has my Defensive POY trophy at his house but that's not here or there." @KingJames talks about his new teammates on tomorrow night's @RoadTrippinPod at 8 PM on Spectrum SportsNet. @RealAClifton @Rjeff24 pic.twitter.com/6dg4hCUFN7— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) December 1, 2020
But whether the Lakers opt to use their final (for now) roster spot on Pau, or just sign him to a one-day contract to retire a Laker, the team needs to make this happen. Marc coming back to the team that drafted him already makes this a storybook offseason, but uniting him and Pau on an NBA team for the first time, and bringing back Kobe Bryant’s co-star to help this team repeat as champions one more time is almost too enticing to pass up, especially given that Pau would fill a roster need as well.
The Lakers need to do their due diligence to see if Pau is healthy, but if he’s ready to play in a reduced role on this team, it would be hard to imagine a more heartwarming use for their final spot.
Bring Pau home. Come on. Make it happen, Rob.