Lakers Rumors: Why Gasol to Timberwolves Deal Will Never Happen

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 1, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29:  Pau Gasol #16 and Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk during the game with the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center on January 29, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. . The Lakers won 111-106.  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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A trade involving Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers to the Minnesota Timberwolves has been loosely discussed during the 2012-13 season, but it's a deal that will never happen.

According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, Gasol has been linked to the Wolves this season because of his personal relationship with point guard Ricky Rubio, however, that isn't even close to enough to get a deal done.

Rubio has nothing but high praise for the veteran big man. Here is what he had to say, per Pincus' piece:

"[Gasol] proved to the league he is one of the best," Rubio told reporters in Minneapolis. "He can pass. He can shoot. He can rebound. He can do a lot of things. I think if you use him in the right way, he is a top player in this league. If they don't want him, we are more than welcome to get him."

And with the way things are going for Gasol in Los Angeles, he might be more than welcome to join the Timberwolves. His anger with the Lakers stems from his new role as a bench player for head coach Mike D'Antoni, and it's a change that Gasol has not embraced.

In a separate piece by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, Gasol expressed his frustrations after the team's win over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday night:

Already bothered by Coach Mike D'Antoni's decision to have him come off the bench behind Earl Clark, Gasol also sat the fourth quarter as the Hornets made a late run.

When D'Antoni rushed his starters back in to staunch the bleeding, Gasol just sat and watched.

"It's a challenge," Gasol said. "I'm challenged every day to keep my calm and keep my peace and not let my emotions take over my words."

No matter how upset Gasol is and how much Rubio lobbies for him to come to Minnesota, it won't make a bit of difference in the grand scheme of a Lakers-Timberwolves trade.

Minnesota could certainly use Gasol's services, as the team is lacking size and scoring punch now that Kevin Love will be out for awhile due to injury. On top of that, the 32-year-old would add a much needed veteran presence to a roster that is full of youth.

But obviously there is another team involved here, and that's where this potential deal falls flat.

Finding a player the Lakers are interested in will be difficult in this scenario. Love is clearly the best player on the Timberwolves, but he is on the shelf for the foreseeable future and it's doubtful Minnesota would be willing to deal their young star for an older one who is on the downside of his career.

Love has been disgruntled himself about the direction of the team in the past, but that shouldn't change anything as far as Minnesota's desire to keep him. Even if it did, the Timberwolves would look to get a much more valuable return than Gasol.

Beyond Love, other possible attractive pieces include Nikola Pekovic and even Rubio, but the Lakers already have a center in Dwight Howard and Rubio has far too much potential to be dealt at this early stage in his career.

Los Angeles also has Steve Nash under contract at the moment.

Derrick Williams is another possibility to be dealt, but the former No. 2 overall pick of the 2011 draft hasn't come close to living up to expectations during his NBA career, making him unattractive at best.

Even if the Lakers are interested in one of those players mentioned and an agreement can be reached, the two sides still have to figure out how to make the money work with Gasol's enormous contract.

The only thing that could trump all of the negatives of this trade scenario on the Lakers' behalf is if the team just wants to part ways with the unhappy Gasol. L.A. may feel trading him away for an unequal return in Williams will be addition by subtraction in the chemistry department.

I certainly wouldn't bet on that happening, though.

The NBA trade deadline is just three weeks away, and while the possibility that Gasol gets traded is realistic, the Timberwolves are definitely not a likely destination for the future Hall of Famer.