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Lakers Trade Rumors: Why Lakers Have the Leverage in Possible Deal with T-Wolves

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Pau Gasol #16 and Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers react after losing 103-100 to the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 19 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Tom FirmeAnalyst IIJune 29, 2012

The Minnesota Timberwolves are longing for one particular Spanish big man. But if the T'Wolves really want Pau Gasol, according to SI.com (via the Associated Press), they'll have to put out the necessary pieces in a trade.

The T'Wolves had tried to trade up to the Charlotte Bobcats' No. 2 spot in order to trade Derrick Williams and the pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Gasol, but didn't manage to swing a deal with Charlotte.

Now, the T'Wolves will have to work harder to acquire Gasol. T'Wolves general manager David Kahn could again offer Derrick Williams. Williams would be a good start to a deal. He showed flashes of potential, averaging 8.8 points per game and scored in double figures in 23 of 66 games.

But Kahn will have to rope Gasol in by offering much more. Gasol might have played 28,691 minutes in his career, but he can still be a big threat when he wants to be. Gasol averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game in 2011-12 and had 42 double-doubles.

He's not an easy one to pry from the Lakers' grasp. That's been made clear by the many trade rumors mentioning his name since before this season started.

The T'Wolves have two first-round draft picks next year, although one is lottery-protected. At least one will have to be offered up in the deal.

Giving up what will likely be a mid-first round pick and one young player won't be enough to get the soon-to-be 32-year-old star power forward. Thus, Kahn will need to dangle Luke Ridnour or Jose Juan Barea, along with Darko Milicic.

Both Ridnour and Barea are quality players who would enhance the Lakers' bench. Barea, who averaged 11.3 points per game and 16.2 per 36 minutes in 2011-12, would add a significant amount of bench scoring. Ridnour would serve as a good backup point guard to Ramon Sessions if he re-signs or a decent starter if Sessions doesn't re-up.

Milicic would be a throw-in to make salaries match up in the deal.

 

The above article notes that the T'Wolves are expected to buy out Martell Webster's contract and decline to post qualifying offers to Anthony Randolph and Michael Beasley to free up cap room for Gasol.

The T'Wolves seem like a playoff team for next season and could become capable of winning a first-round series with Gasol. To see how the lineup looks with Gasol in it would be interesting. However it fits together, the combination of Gasol, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio in that lineup would be exciting.

Rubio would have at least two exciting scorers up front in Gasol and Love—and three if Rick Adelman were to use Gasol, Love and the rising talent Nikola Pekovic at the same time.

In order for that combination to happen, the T'Wolves need to give a generous package in order to get Gasol. The 11-year pro might be on the backstretch of his career, but his reputation goes before him. Mitch Kupchak knows what Gasol's worth, and he won't take any less than that.

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