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Pau Gasol looking doubtful for Turkey

Pau Gasol has dropped his strongest hint yet that he’ll take this summer off and not play for Spain at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey.

The seven-footer was the most valuable player at the 2006 FIBA World Championship and at least year’s EuroBasket in Poland, with Spain winning gold medals at each event.

In an article in the El Mundo newspaper in Spain, the Los Angeles Lakers star said: “To play for the national team gives me great enthusiasm and a lot of pride.

“It’s a luxury to be able to share that joy with the team we have. It’s something I have enjoyed for many years and I hope I can enjoy it a few more times although this summer it’s going to be complicated.

“It’s clear that with the comments I have made so far, one should know where my decision is heading. You don’t need to be an expert to decipher codes.”

Gasol sat out the early part of the NBA season because of right hamstring injury and then missed time at the start of 2010 with a left hamstring problem.

Since returning to America for this season, he has indicated that at some point, a player needs to take a break and that could come this year.

“My dream is to win many rings with the Lakers and to win gold at the 2012 Olympics in London,” he said.

“I continue to do what I enjoy, which is to play basketball and be efficient and go to bed calm.

“This is my personality.”

The last time that Gasol did not play for Spain was at EuroBasket 2005 in Belgrade and Spain had a solid tournament.

They reached the Semi-Finals but then lost to Dirk Nowitzki’s Germany.

France blew out Spain in the bronze-medal game.

At that tournament, one of the positive developments was the play of Fran Vazquez, the player who on Sunday was voted MVP of the Copa del Rey after leading Barcelona to the title.

Vazquez was in the Spain squad for the 2006 FIBA World Championship but withdrew with a back injury, and that opened the door for Pepu Hernandez to add Gasol’s younger brother, Marc, to the team.

While Vazquez hasn’t represented Spain since 2005, he could return for this year’s tournament in Turkey and play alongside Marc Gasol if Pau doesn’t play.

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