Pau Gasol confirms it is “unlikely” he returns to Lakers this season

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Reports around the Lakers late last week suggested that Pau Gasol was done for the season, that the vertigo he battled and the state of the Lakers made both sides decide to just shut it all down.

Now Gasol is pretty much confirming that.

Gasol said this speaking with Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“It’s unlikely,” Gasol told ESPNLosAngeles.com following the Lakers’ 145-130 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday when asked if he would play in any of the four remaining games this season. “But, I want to.”

For those of you scoring at home, Gasol would join Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Kent Bazemore, and Xavier Henry as players done for the season.

It is almost certain Gasol is gone from the Lakers this summer, both sides are ready to move on from a relationship that started with a couple NBA titles but has run its course. For Gasol he wants to be in a place he can contribute to a contender, for the Lakers who are rebuilding the older Gasol is not worth what the market will offer him.

Gasol will have options — Chicago, Cleveland and Memphis are the most mentioned names but other teams are expected to be in the mix as well. In what is a down market for free agents he will be one of the most productive big men available, that despite his declines (particularly on defense) and some nagging injuries.

Gasol will return to Spain this summer and will be part of the Spanish national team as it tries to win the FIBA World Cup on its home court (it is the one team with a real shot to knock off the United States, having picked up the silver medal the last two Olympics in tough contests with America).

Look for Gasol to return from that experience physically and more importantly mentally energized. Look for him to put up numbers wherever he lands next season.