PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 19: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts as he looks up at the scoreboard during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Minnesota Timberwolves are in the running for Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol, according to the latest NBA trade rumors. Did Kobe Bryant's recent comments make the deal closer to becoming a reality?
Pau Gasol trade rumors are likely coming to a head pretty soon, per comments from Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, but that isn't necessarily pertinent information when it comes to those reading SB Nation Minnesota. The important question, then, is whether the Minnesota Timberwolves will be involved if and when a deal goes down.
The answer to the "if" part of that question is currently unclear, but considering the Timberwolves are one of the only teams being mentioned (per a report from Chris Tomasson), there's a good chance they'll play a part. As far as the when portion of that answer? The Black Mamba put his team's front office on notice Sunday night that something better happen soon.
"I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him ... I'd rather for them to not trade him at all. If they want to do something, I wished they'd just (expletive) do it and if they're not going to do it, come out and say you're not going to do it. ...This way he can be comfortable and he can go out and he can perform and he can play and invest all of himself into (the team)."
If a trade happens soon and Derrick Williams is sent to California, though, it won't be easy. Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe pointed out on Tuesday that a trade will put David Kahn's Wolves way over the salary cap.
Gasol's cap number this season is $18.7 million, and adding that salary would take the Wolves, with a payroll around $56.8 million right now, well over the salary cap of $58 million. Once you do that, you have to abide by the league's salary-matching rules for trades, which means Minnesota would have to find about $8 million in additional salary to make the math work. Where is that coming from? Do the Lakers want to swallow it?
Along with Williams, the Wolves would probably have to trade Brad Miller and include either Darko Milicic, Wesley Johnson or Martell Webster to try and keep their core intact (if the Lakers are indeed OK with swallowing salary). Otherwise, it seems as though Michael Beasley would have to be included as well.
If the Wolves are forced to ship any pieces of value -- aside from Williams, who seems to be the centerpiece, of course -- the trade doesn't really make sense. Gasol would meet up with another Spaniard in Ricky Rubio, but at 31 and with plenty of playing time on his legs already, is he really worth the monstrous salary for the seasons he has left?
It seems at this point that this trade probably won't happen. If it does, though, there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome to make it a deal worth doing for both sides.