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NBA Power Rankings – Why the Warriors, Mavs and Hornets are trending up



The Golden State Warriors have won four of their past five games, including a 21-point comeback against the LA Clippers on Friday night. Stephen Curry — his 2-of-16 showing Sunday night against the Toronto Raptors notwithstanding — has found his scoring groove.

Although they aren’t the same title contenders of seasons past, the Warriors have regained the look of a team ready to make some noise in the West.

Who else is rising ahead of Week 4?

Note: Throughout the regular season, our panel (ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Nick Friedell, Andrew Lopez, Tim MacMahon, Dave McMenamin, Eric Woodyard, Royce Young and Ohm Youngmisuk) is ranking all 30 teams from top to bottom, taking stock of which teams are playing the best basketball now and which teams are looking most like title contenders.

Previous rankings: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

1. Los Angeles Lakers
2020-21 record: 8-3
Previous ranking: 1

Anthony Davis popped off following Thursday’s disheartening 118-109 loss to San Antonio, calling the Lakers’ defense “s—” and adding L.A. has no prayer of repeating with an effort like that. He returned to the lineup two games later and helped dominate Houston 120-102, recording three blocks in the process. “It wasn’t like I was fabricating it,” Davis explained. “It was the truth; we were really bad defensively. We had been bad defensively.” It might have woken up the Lakers. And if so, watch out. — McMenamin

This week: @HOU, @OKC, NOP

2. LA Clippers
2020-21 record: 7-4
Previous ranking: 2

The Clippers are at full strength for the first time this season, with Marcus Morris Sr. making his season debut last week. But they blew a 22-point, second-half lead in a loss at Golden State to conjure up haunting memories from the Florida bubble. Ty Lue’s defense allowed Zach LaVine to drill 10 3-pointers, Stephen Curry to make nine and Patty Mills to bury eight in three of the past four games. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are scoring, but defense and bench play have been inconsistent. — Youngmisuk

This week: NOP, @SAC, IND

3. Milwaukee Bucks
2020-21 record: 6-4
Previous ranking: 5

Giannis Antetokounmpo took a nasty fall during Friday’s loss to Utah. He missed Saturday’s contest versus Cleveland with back spasms, but the Bucks still pulled out a 100-90 win. All of Milwaukee’s six wins have come by at least 10 points this season. — Woodyard

This week: @ORL, @DET, DAL

4. Philadelphia 76ers
2020-21 record: 7-3
Previous ranking: 3

On Thursday morning, the Sixers had the NBA’s best record. Four days later, their roster has taken a huge hit thanks to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and a depleted Sixers team has dropped two straight games. One piece of good news: Joel Embiid will be back in the lineup Monday night in Atlanta against the reeling Hawks. — Bontemps

This week: @ATL, MIA, MIA, @MEM, @OKC

5. Phoenix Suns
2020-21 record: 7-3
Previous ranking: 7

Chris Paul continues to protect the ball, averaging just 1.7 turnovers per game to go along with 27 assists and just three giveaways in his past three games. Mikal Bridges is making an early case for Most Improved Player and is coming off a career-high 34-point effort against the Pacers on Saturday night, when he also tied his career best with six 3-pointers. — Lopez

This week: @WAS, ATL, GSW, IND

6. Boston Celtics
2020-21 record: 7-3
Previous ranking: 10

The week started out great for Boston, which won on the road against the Raptors and Heat, before coming home and beating Washington. But all of the good feelings from four straight wins — and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown playing at an All-NBA level — went away as the team faces half its roster being sidelined due to either injury or the league’s health and safety protocols for the next few days, at least. — Bontemps

This week: @CHI, ORL, ORL, NYK

7. Indiana Pacers
2020-21 record: 6-3
Previous ranking: 9

Despite Saturday’s loss, Domantas Sabonis continues to shine, posting 28 points and 22 rebounds against Phoenix. He became the first Pacers player with 25 points and 20 rebounds in a game since Jermaine O’Neal in 2003. — Woodyard

This week: @SAC, @GSW, @POR, @PHX, @LAC

8. Miami Heat
2020-21 record: 4-4
Previous ranking: 6

Miami had a 2-1 week that included 31 points from Tyler Herro in Saturday’s win over the Wizards, but Miami’s short-term future is cloudy after the postponement of Sunday’s game against the Celtics. Avery Bradley is expected to miss more than just Sunday’s game because of the league’s health and safety protocols, and this week’s two-game set with the 76ers has hurdles to clear given both teams are dealing with COVID-19 issues. — Friedell

This week: @PHI, @PHI, DET

9. Utah Jazz
2020-21 record: 6-4
Previous ranking: 8

Donovan Mitchell has started to warm up after a somewhat slow start. He averaged 27.3 points in four games last week, including a pair of 30-plus-point performances. Mitchell now has 46 career 30-point games, surpassing Karl Malone for the most in franchise history for a player before his 25th birthday, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. — MacMahon

This week: @CLE, @WAS, ATL, @DEN

10. Dallas Mavericks
2020-21 record: 5-4
Previous ranking: 14

Tim Hardaway Jr. has earned a lot of respect for his professionalism, as well as his production, during the Mavs’ three-game winning streak. He responded to a role change by scoring 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting in his first game off the bench. Hardaway moved back into the starting lineup two games later, when three Mavs were forced to quarantine, and he had his highest-scoring game in a Dallas uniform with 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting. — MacMahon

This week: NOP, @CHA, @MIL, CHI

11. Brooklyn Nets
2020-21 record: 5-6
Previous ranking: 4

With their roster dynamic, no one expected a season free of drama, questions, concerns or issues for the Nets. And with Kevin Durant missing three games because of COVID-19 protocols, and Kyrie Irving then missing three because of personal reasons, the Nets ended the week a game under .500. They are a ways off from any kind of panic button, but the past week has been a clear disruption. Assuming they are back to full strength soon, keep an eye on their next four — Denver, at the Knicks, Orlando and Milwaukee. — Young

This week: DEN, @NYK, ORL

12. Portland Trail Blazers
2020-21 record: 5-4
Previous ranking: 12

The Portland backcourt is rolling. But it’s been in a somewhat staggered fashion lately, with Damian Lillard going off for 39 points against the Wolves one night, then CJ McCollum dropping 37 against the Kings another night. Either Lillard or McCollum has led the Blazers in scoring in all of the Blazers’ nine games this season. The looming concern, though: Defensively, the Blazers’ bench units are a problem, which isn’t too surprising considering Enes Kanter and Carmelo Anthony are two top options. When Anthony and Kanter play together, the Blazers allow 115.9 points per 100 possessions. — Young

This week: TOR, @SAC, IND, ATL

13. Denver Nuggets
2020-21 record: 5-5
Previous ranking: 15

The Nuggets were supposed to get Michael Porter Jr. back from quarantine last week but ended up losing him for even longer because of health and safety protocols. Despite not having Porter, and with Jamal Murray still not looking like himself, the Nikola Jokic train is running full steam and the Nuggets have now won four of their past five. JaMychal Green has provided strong minutes and Gary Harris‘ offense has come alive on this East Coast trip. — Youngmisuk

This week: @BKN, GSW, UTA

14. Golden State Warriors
2020-21 record: 6-4
Previous ranking: 22

Stephen Curry shot a career-worst 2-for-16 … and the Warriors won? Sunday’s nail-biter over Toronto was a solid capper for a Warriors group that has stabilized after a shaky first week of the season. Andrew Wiggins has had some nice moments in the starting lineup on both ends of the floor and Eric Paschall has fit into his scoring role in the second unit. Kelly Oubre Jr. continues to struggle from the outside, though, shooting just 7-for-50 from beyond the arc. — Friedell

This week: IND, @DEN, @PHO

15. San Antonio Spurs
2020-21 record: 5-5
Previous ranking: 20

DeMar DeRozan wasn’t with the Spurs in Sunday’s game against the Timberwolves, as he left the team for personal reasons, but he posted 38 points on Saturday night, tying his highest-scoring game in a San Antonio uniform. He is averaging a career high in assists per game (7.0), and he already has made as many 3-pointers in nine games this season, with nine, as he did all of last season in 68 contests — Lopez

This week: @OKC, HOU, HOU

16. Orlando Magic
2020-21 record: 6-4
Previous ranking: 16

Steve Clifford and his team must feel snakebit after seeing young guard Markelle Fultz tear his ACL during Wednesday’s win over the Cavaliers. Fultz’s injury comes just a few months after talented big man Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL in the bubble. WIth Fultz out, rookie Cole Anthony is going to have to grow up in a hurry as he gets more minutes. — Friedell

This week: MIL, @BOS, @BOS, @BKN

17. Houston Rockets
2020-21 record: 3-5
Previous ranking: 17

James Harden has been in a scoring slump by his standards since coming back from an ankle sprain that sidelined him for a game. He has averaged 17.8 points in the last four games, three of which were Rockets losses. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, it’s Harden’s lowest-scoring four-game stretch since he scored a total of 70 points in the final game of the 2014-15 season and first three games of the 2015-16 campaign. — MacMahon

This week: LAL, @SAS, @SAS

18. New Orleans Pelicans
2020-21 record: 4-5
Previous ranking: 13

To say it was a disappointing week for the Pelicans is an understatement. The Pelicans had three very winnable games — up six on Indiana with 21 seconds left in regulation, up four with 2:00 to play against the Thunder and up 18 versus the Hornets — but dropped all three. Stan Van Gundy’s team has to work on closing out games. And he is trying to still get some of his base defense in — something that’s been challenging with the time frame of the odd season. — Lopez

This week: @DAL, @lAC, @LAL, @SAC

19. Atlanta Hawks
2020-21 record: 4-5
Previous ranking: 11

After a hot start, things have cooled off considerably for the Hawks, who have now lost four straight after starting the season 4-1. The Hawks’ free-agent acquisitions have struggled with injuries: Bogdan Bogdanovic left Saturday’s game with a knee injury; Danilo Gallinari is out with an ankle sprain; Rajon Rondo has played in just two games; and Kris Dunn has yet to suit up this season. Meanwhile, Trae Young has struggled in protecting the ball, with 19 turnovers in his past three games. — Lopez

This week: PHI, @PHX, @UTA, @POR

20. Toronto Raptors
2020-21 record: 2-7
Previous ranking: 18

Toronto’s bizarre start to the season continued: A nice win in Sacramento Friday was followed up with a clunker at Golden State Sunday, where the Raptors came back from a big deficit to take a late lead, only to foul Damion Lee in the final seconds and lose by a point. Still, the Raptors have to be encouraged by the recent improved play of Pascal Siakam, who averaged 24 points, almost nine rebounds and over five assists while shooting over 50 percent from the field and hitting 40 percent of his 3s in four games last week. If Toronto wants to dig out of this hole, Siakam continuing to play like that is a good start. — Bontemps

This week: @POR, CHA, CHA

21. Charlotte Hornets
2020-21 record: 5-5
Previous ranking: 27

One night after nearly making history against brother Lonzo, LaMelo Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to register a triple-double during Saturday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks. Ball’s performance put a nice exclamation point on a 3-1 week for a Hornets group that was always confident the rookie guard could come in and make an early impact. — Friedell

This week: NYK, DAL, @TOR, @TOR

22. New York Knicks
2020-21 record: 5-5
Previous ranking: 26

After a hot start, the Knicks have begun to come back to Earth, with comfortable losses to the Thunder and Nuggets. Julius Randle, however, continues to be the hub of the offense. Randle’s more than seven assists per game are a dramatic improvement from his career average of 2.9, and if New York settles down to the bottom of the East and that improvement continues, Randle will be an intriguing trade target ahead of the March 25 deadline. — Bontemps

This week: @CHA, BKN, @CLE, @BOS

23. Cleveland Cavaliers
2020-21 record: 5-5
Previous ranking: 19

It was a tough 1-3 week for the Cavs in the final four games of their six-game road trip, which finished with a 10-point loss to a Bucks team missing Giannis Antetokounmpo. And Andre Drummond‘s 26-point, 24-rebound line against the Bucks might have gotten a little more shine had he not done this against the Grizzlies earlier in the week. — McMenamin

This week: MEM, UTA, NYK, @WAS

24. Oklahoma City Thunder
2020-21 record: 5-4
Previous ranking: 28

Wait, are the Thunder really doing this again? Last season was expected to be the beginning of a rebuild, but OKC shocked the West all season long. And after starting 1-3, the Thunder went on a 4-1 road trip with wins against the Magic, Pelicans, Knicks and Nets. The standout reason: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. On the road trip, SGA averaged 20.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists, featuring a 31-6-7 line against the Nets on Sunday. But before Thunder fans start dreaming about another overachieving season, the upcoming schedule may be a reality check. — Young

This week: SAS, LAL, CHI, PHI

25. Sacramento Kings
2020-21 record: 4-6
Previous ranking: 21

Is it too early to play the game where we reorder the 2020 NBA draft? How high would Tyrese Haliburton go? The Iowa State point guard, selected No. 12 by Sacramento, has already cracked the Kings’ starting rotation. In his first action with Sacto’s first unit, Haliburton had 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting and 8 assists as Luke Walton went with a three-guard lineup with De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and the rook in a loss to Portland. — McMenamin

This week: IND, POR, LAC, NOP

26. Chicago Bulls
2020-21 record: 4-7
Previous ranking: 29

The Bulls have been competitive of late, although it hasn’t shown in the standings. On a West Coast trip, Chicago started by rebounding from a 20-point, first-half deficit to beat Portland, then fell to the Kings, Lakers and Clippers by a combined nine points. Zach LaVine has been hot. He posted 45 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists against the Clippers for his sixth career 40-5-5 game, breaking a tie with Derrick Rose for the fifth-most such games in Bulls history. — Woodyard

This week: BOS, @OKC, @DAL

27. Memphis Grizzlies
2020-21 record: 3-6
Previous ranking: 23

Rookie wing Desmond Bane has been a bright spot during the Grizzlies’ injury-ravaged rough start. Bane, the No. 30 overall pick in the draft, is averaging 8.9 points off the bench and showing potential as a 3-and-D role player. He is 19-of-39 from long range, ranking second among rookies in 3s made. — MacMahon

This week: @CLE, @MIN, @MIN, PHI

28. Minnesota Timberwolves
2020-21 record: 3-7
Previous ranking: 24

The Wolves were desperate for a win and got it Sunday night in their weekend series finale over the Spurs, breaking a torturous seven-game losing streak. Karl-Anthony Towns returned on Saturday, which gave the Wolves a massive boost, but they still lost a close overtime game to San Antonio. With Towns sitting, they bounced back behind 27 points from D’Angelo Russell. It’s too early to make a determination on the season for the Wolves, but they are most interested in positive progression. And that requires winning every now and then. — Young

This week: MEM, MEM

29. Washington Wizards
2020-21 record: 2-8
Previous ranking: 25

As if a 2-8 start wasn’t bad enough, the Wizards lost Thomas Bryant for the season to a torn ACL. Bryant was looking at a breakout 2020-21 campaign, with Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal finding him for open looks. Westbrook himself is banged up with quad and finger issues. This season feels a lot like last season: Beal is on a tear, but the young Wizards continue to play little defense. — Youngmisuk

This week: PHO, UTA, @DET, CLE

30. Detroit Pistons
2020-21 record: 2-8
Previous ranking: 30

The highlight of Detroit’s week was a 110-105 overtime victory against the Suns after trailing by 23 points in the second quarter, their largest comeback in 25 seasons. The Pistons went 1-3 this week, but Jerami Grant continues to be a bright spot, joining Blake Griffin as the only Pistons in the past 20 seasons with consecutive 30-point, 10-rebound games. — Woodyard

This week: MIL, WAS, @MIA

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Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden headlines Eastern Conference’s All-Star reserves, while Utah Jazz send two to Western Conference roster



The NBA announced the reserve selections for next month’s All-Star Game in Atlanta on Tuesday night, a list headlined by Brooklyn Nets star James Harden as well as center Rudy Gobert and guard Donovan Mitchell from the league-leading Utah Jazz.

Harden, the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2018, is representing Brooklyn for the first time in what will be his ninth consecutive All-Star appearance. The previous eight came with the Houston Rockets, who traded Harden to Brooklyn as part of a four-team deal last month. Since the trade, Harden has averaged 24.9 points and 11.4 assists per game in 18 games with Brooklyn. He will join teammates Kevin Durant — one of two captains, alongside Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James — and Kyrie Irving, both of whom were voted in as starters last week.

In addition to Harden, the six other selections from the Eastern Conference were: guard Jaylen Brown and forward Jayson Tatum from the Boston Celtics; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons; and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic.

Brown, the front-runner for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award this season, is averaging career highs across the board for the Celtics, including points (25.5), assists (3.9) and all three shooting percentage categories: field goal (49.7), 3-point (40.9) and free throw (76.6), helping him earn his first All-Star selection. Tatum, meanwhile, is averaging a career-high 26.4 points per game, and is making his second straight appearance in the league’s midseason showcase.

Vucevic will make his second All-Star appearance, having made his first two seasons ago, and is averaging a career-high 24.1 points per game and shooting a career-best 40% from 3-point range. Simmons, meanwhile, will make his third consecutive All-Star appearance; the well-rounded guard is, alongside starter Joel Embiid, a huge reason the Sixers entered Tuesday with the Eastern Conference’s best record.

They will be joined by a pair of first-time All-Stars from two of the league’s flagship franchises in Randle and LaVine, both of whom are having career years. Randle, who has helped lead the 15-16 Knicks into surprising contention for a playoff berth, is averaging career bests in virtually every category playing under Tom Thibodeau, while LaVine is averaging career highs of 28.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.

Over the past few weeks, there has been intense debate over who would merit the final couple of spots in the East, with a deep pool of candidates garnering support. Ultimately, though, the league’s coaches wound up leaving off several of them, including: Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo and forward Jimmy Butler; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton; 76ers forward Tobias Harris; Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet; Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and forward Domantas Sabonis; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young; and Charlotte Hornets forward Gordon Hayward.

Out West, Gobert and Mitchell were the headliners, as they were the two representatives for the streaking Jazz, who go into Wednesday’s showdown versus the Lakers on ESPN with the NBA’s best record, and having won 20 of their past 22 games. Gobert, who is positioned to win his third Defensive Player of the Year award, makes his second straight All-Star appearance this season after a couple of near misses in previous seasons. It also is the second straight appearance for Mitchell, who is averaging career highs of 24.5 points and 5.2 assists this season.

They were joined by: Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard; LA Clippers forward Paul George; Lakers forward Anthony Davis; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul and New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.

Lillard easily could’ve been a starter, as he’s having another stellar season, averaging 29.8 points and 7.7 assists and keeping Portland in the playoff picture even though guard CJ McCollum and center Jusuf Nurkic are out with long-term injuries. George, meanwhile, is back in the All-Star Game for the seventh time after missing it last year, his first in Los Angeles, after injuries delayed the start of his season. Davis, on the other hand, is all but certain to be replaced by someone ahead of the All-Star Game because of the calf strain that currently has the Lakers star sidelined.

The final two spots out West went to one of the league’s oldest stars in Paul and one of its youngest in Williamson. Paul, whom Phoenix acquired before the season, makes his 11th All-Star appearance and his second in a row after making the roster last year for Oklahoma City. Williamson, the top overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, makes his first appearance after averaging 25.1 points and shooting over 60% from the field.

Those two beat out a field of candidates for the final couple of spots that included: San Antonio Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan; Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander; Jazz guard Mike Conley, who continues to hold the unofficial title of best player never to make an All-Star team; Suns guard Devin Booker; and Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram.

Like in recent seasons, the NBA will combine the All-Stars into one pool, which will be divided into two teams by captains James and Durant. Jazz coach Quin Snyder will coach James’ team, while Sixers coach Doc Rivers will helm Durant’s squad.

The game will also, like last year, feature the Elam Ending, in which the teams play to a final score as opposed to a timed fourth quarter. Like last year, that final score will be determined by taking the combined score of the team that’s ahead through three quarters and adding 24 points — in honor of the late Kobe Bryant — to that total.

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Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns hopes for more head-coaching diversity in NBA



The initial reaction from Karl-Anthony Towns when he learned that Chris Finch would replace Ryan Saunders as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves was “shock.”

Like the rest of the world, Towns found out Sunday through the media following the team’s loss in New York to the Knicks, its fourth straight defeat.

“I was eating my Joe’s Pizza in New York with my father and the next thing you know, news came out and we were all shocked,” Towns said.

But, once that initial emotion faded, the two-time NBA All-Star became supportive of the decision. However, he couldn’t help but notice the strong reaction from his league peers, such as Portland Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, in regards to another African-American being passed over for a head coaching role in current Wolves assistant David Vanterpool.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t come on here and mention the amazing work that men of color are doing in this world. Not only in every other sport and through social justice and every other part of this world and in the organization or whatever the case may be, but for basketball,” Towns said. “For what my job is, there’s a lot of amazing men of color out there that deserve the opportunity to lead a team and to run an organization and have a chance to make their mark in this league not with a jersey on, but with a suit on. And, I say that with meaning.

“But, like I said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing work David Vanterpool has put in and as a man who looks like me, I can’t wait to see him get a job where he can flourish and be a head coach and run a team,” he continued. “We’re so honored and blessed to have him here on this coaching staff and get to continue learning from him and soak up all the wisdom and experience he has from playing professional and also from being a coach. And, with all that experience and with all that wisdom and just knowledge, it makes us that much better as a team, it makes us that much better as a coaching staff and it makes our new head coach, it just gives him so many weapons.”

Out of 30 NBA teams, there are currently seven Black head coaches.

There’s Lloyd Pierce with the Atlanta Hawks, the Houston Rockets‘ Stephen Silas, the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ J.B. Bickerstaff, the Phoenix Suns‘ Monty Williams, the Detroit Pistons‘ Dwane Casey, the Philadelphia 76ers‘ Doc Rivers and Tyronn Lue of the LA Clippers.

“As a man of color myself, you would love to see more coaches that resemble what me and you look like on the sidelines, but you’ve got to support the organization in everything you do and understand,” Towns said. “I understand how everything is, but at the end of the day, the organization made the choice that they felt was best for this organization and you’ve got to be a professional in all of this.

“You’ve got to be a professional down the line,” he said. “So, when the decision was made, my mind, just because of how many times I’ve dealt with this, just adjusted and came to an adjustment mode and just wanted to welcome our new coach and try to be here as much as possible for him and lean on each other to get through this adjustment period for both of us.”

Towns made it clear that he wants to finish his career in Minnesota, but described this latest coaching move as “just the business.”

“I would love to finish my career here in Minnesota until obviously the business calls or business changes or whatever the case may be,” Towns said. “I don’t plan on it to or at least I’m not hoping to make the decision. I want to build something great here. I want to build a legacy in Minnesota. I’m just everyday trying to help our coaching staff and help this organization build a culture.”

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Six-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol returning to Spain to play for Barcelona



Pau Gasol is returning to Spain to play for Barcelona, with the team announcing that his deal runs through June 30, 2021.

The 40-year-old big man began his professional basketball career with Barcelona in 1998-99, spending four seasons with the club before making the jump to the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2001-02 season, and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.

“I’m happy to return to the club where I began, and I’m excited about this new opportunity: I hope to contribute to the first team very soon. I want to thank Barca and its technical staff for making it possible to join them,” Gasol said in a statement.

On Saturday, Gasol had denied Spanish media reports that he had reached a deal with Barcelona, writing on Twitter that he remained “focused on my recovery and I am not ready to get back to competing just yet.”

Gasol has been trying to regain his fitness to be ready to play in his fifth Olympic Games. He said last year that he needed to play this season to give himself a chance of making it to Tokyo. He is a three-time Olympic medalist with Spain.

Gasol, a six-time NBA All-Star, won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers after being traded to Los Angeles from Memphis in 2008. He also played for the Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks and has career averages of 17 points and 9.2 rebounds.

He last played in the NBA in the 2018-19, finishing the season with Milwaukee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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