The recent season-long injury to Ricky Rubio has and will most definitely stall talks about a possible trade between the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves that would send Pau Gasol to the Wolves.
While normally a player injury would encourage a team to trade for a big-time player like Gasol, in this case it isn’t going to happen that way.
It has to do with the basic personnel issue now facing the Timberwolves. They are down a point guard and need someone to step up and fill Rubio’s role on the team.
Now We Need a Point Too
The Lakers had been talking to the T-Wolves about a possible Pau Gasol swap. Let’s think about this. What is the one position that the Lakers need the most?
The answer is a point guard. So one can only assume that the Lakers were hoping to acquire a point guard in the Gasol deal, either from Minnesota or a third team.
From Minnesota, that guy probably would have been their starter Luke Ridnour. However, that would then have required Ricky Rubio to become the starter, which we know now cannot happen. So, Ridnour is off the market.
Now that Minnesota also needs a point guard, it seems very unlikely that they would engage in a three-team deal to get Gasol that would send a point guard to the Lakers and not them.
Therefore, it seems likely that trade talks between the two teams will stall until they can work out a deal where both will be happy and fill the needs of each.
Are We Ready for This?
It seems that forming a core around Rubio, Gasol and Kevin Love was the original intent of the Timberwolves possibly trading for Gasol. They may decide to rethink that because of this injury.
Without Rubio, the core doesn’t work as well together, since Rubio and Gasol already have a report with each other from playing on the Spanish national team.
After this season, Gasol will turn 32 years old in July. In comparison, Rubio will turn 22 in the offseason, while Love will be 24.
Now that a playoff run this season with the trio is out of the picture, Minnesota may decide that trading Gasol is not worth it in the long term, especially since he is so much older than the other players.
This is the least likely theory on why these talks could have stalled because of the Rubio injury, but I’m putting it out there anyway.
Rubio didn’t just injure his knee against some random team. It was against the Lakers, in a collision with Kobe Bryant, the Lakers’ best player.
Now, I’m not suggesting that an NBA GM would be motivated by that kind of pettiness to not work with a team on a trade to make both teams potentially better.
However, if said GM did have some similar reservations to the ones listed above, could this simple fact subconsciously sway him to shut down talks with the other team?
It’s possible. In his mind, he has good reasons to not make the trade, but that small subconscious pettiness is what actually pushes him over the edge into making the decision.
I know it’s unlikely, but it is possible.
Anyway, the point is that the Rubio injury was the worst thing that could happen to these trade talks aside from Gasol himself having a similar injury. These talks will stall at least for awhile, but a deal still could be done it time.