Timberwolves May Want Pau Gasol, But Acquiring Him from Lakers Will be Difficult
The Minnesota Timberwolves have a surplus of attractive assets and will likely be a busy team over the next few days. They hold the second pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft and could take forward Derrick Williams. The Cavs reportedly are locked in on Kyrie Irving with the top overall pick and Williams is viewed by many people as the second-best prospect (our Patrick Crawley argued Williams should actually be the top pick).
In addition to holding the second overall pick, point guard Ricky Rubio, who was drafted two years ago, has arrived in the U.S. and is ready to play in the NBA this season. Because of Rubio’s arrival from Spain, countryman Pau Gasol has become an attractive trade target for Minnesota, according to Chad Ford.
Minnesota’s desire to acquire Pau Gasol is understandable; even if he played poorly in the playoffs, he’s still one of the top forwards in the League. The problem is a trade would be difficult to be arranged because of salary cap restrictions, as Eric Pincus outlined on Hoops World via Speculative Sports.
Pau Gasol’s trade value is $17.8 million from his salary last season and no player on Minnesota’s roster makes over $5 million. In order to make the salaries match, the Timberwolves would have to give up at least three players and the second overall pick. Would the Lakers give up Pau Gasol for the second pick and scrubs? Of course not — they would want talent back in return, and they would likely want Kevin Love. If Minnesota had to give up Love, the second overall pick, and a few other players for Gasol who will be making $19 million, I doubt they would be interested.
This really seems like a case of Minnesota wanting something but being unwillingly to give up too much to make it happen. The much more realistic scenario seems to be Minnesota dealing the second overall pick, or drafting Williams and then trading him.
The Timberwolves are set at power forward with Kevin Love, and they also have Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph in their forward rotation. They may try to deal Beasley, and they’re said to have an interest in trading point guard Jonny Flynn.
As previously written, they have many options, so you can expect them to be actively pursuing deals. My guess is Flynn ends up being dealt, and they use the second pick to acquire a center. Maybe they’ll end up with Chris Kaman or Andrew Bogut, because that’s an area where they have a need.
Thanks to Minnesota’s Rotoworld page for the references