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Rumor: Raptors’ Marc Gasol leaving NBA to join Barcelona in Spain

Marc Gasol, Raptors, Barcelona, Spain

There had already been rumblings about Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol considering a return to Europe.

Now there’s another rumor out of Spain suggesting it’s basically a done deal that the veteran big man will be returning to Spain and signing with Barcelona:

A number of Raptors media members have chimed in on the situation as they try to confirm the rumors:

For what it’s worth, Barcelona coach Sarunas Jasikevicius claims there have been no talks with Marc Gasol:

While nothing has been confirmed, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Gasol is planning to go back home. He already played for the Spanish club from 2003-2006 before transferring to Girona and then going overseas in 2008 to play for the Memphis Grizzlies. The 35-year-old played 10-plus seasons with the Grizzlies before being traded to the Raptors last season.

Gasol was instrumental in helping Toronto win its first championship in franchise history last year. This season, he averaged a career-low 7.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists as he battled injuries throughout the year. The Raptors’ season ended after a loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. As Toronto enters an offseason where Gasol, fellow big man Serge Ibaka and guard Fred VanVleet are all set to become free agents, president Masai Ujiri said retaining all their free agents is a priority. 

While Gasol won a title with the Raptors, it was with the Grizzlies where he really made his name. He was named an All Star three times, was named to the All-NBA First Team in 2015, the All NBA Second Team in 2013, and he won Defensive Player of the Year in that same year.

If Marc Gasol’s NBA career is indeed over after 12 years, he will finish with averages of 14.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists while shooting 48.1% from the field and 35.4% from 3-point range.