Lakers Trade Rumors: Latest Rumblings on Kevin Love, Pau Gasol and More

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IFebruary 18, 2014

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love smiles as he did not play in the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, February 8, 2014 in Minneapolis.(AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)
ANDY CLAYTON-KING/Associated Press

As many times as it's appeared the Los Angeles Lakers would make a deal that would shock the NBA world, they simply haven't pulled the trigger on a big move thus far.

But with the trade deadline coming on Thursday, that could all change very quickly.

There have been rumors for months that the Lakers would look to make a move for Kevin Love when he becomes a free agent and that they are interested in shipping Pau Gasol out of town for the right deal, but both have been involved in recent reports.

With both players' possibly making a huge impact for the Lakers moving forward, here's a look at the latest on the trade front, starting with Love


Will Kevin Love Be a Laker at the Deadline?

The elusive question of whether or not Love will remain with the Minnesota Timberwolves could be answered much sooner than fans in Minneapolis were hoping.

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Lakers and Dallas Mavericks are two teams looking to make a move to get the All-Star forward. Berger provides some insight on the situation:

The Lakers and Mavericks are trying to assemble trade offers for prospective free agent Kevin Love, but thus far the Timberwolves have given no indication they'll consider moving the All-Star forward by Thursday's deadline, league sources told

While Berger notes that the deal is not a sure thing before the deadline, it's certainly an intriguing storyline to watch on Thursday.

Love has been rumored for a while to have the desire to join a large-market team and bolt from Minnesota following the 2015 season, but the T-Wolves are still interested in trying to make the playoffs with the big man.

Berger in his piece gives a little background information on Love's status:

Love will be a free agent in 2015, and it is widely known around the league that he and his agent, New York-based Jeff Schwartz, are determined to get him to a major market. The Lakers, Love's first choice, "have the best shot" of landing the Southern California native, one person familiar with the player's thinking said. There is no incentive in the CBA for Love to sign an extension with Minnesota before he has a chance to decline his player option and hit the open market in July 2015.

Giving up significant assets for Love would be problematic for any team that isn't confident it will be able to sign him when he becomes a free agent. That is obviously not an issue for the Lakers.

Basically what Berger is trying to say is that the Lakers are the market that Love wants to join.

Love played his college basketball at UCLA after attending Lake Oswego High School in Oregon. Needless to say, the West Coast is the best coast for Love.

The T-Wolves are used to seeing big-name players get traded, like Kevin Garnett in 2007, but the returns for Love need to be just about as high as what they got for Garnett.

The seven-for-one deal was the largest in NBA history, but it at least provided hope for Minnesota fans that they got something in return. Letting Love walk for nothing in 2015 wouldn't exactly ease the pain for T-Wolves fans.

Remember this: Garnett was traded during the summer rather than before the deadline. Even if Love doesn't get moved before Feb. 20, his name will stay on the rumor mill during the next several months.


Pau Gasol Could Be Switching Coasts

Oh hey, another rumor about Gasol potentially being moved.

Yes, his name is still out on the market and yes, he's certainly still a hot commodity. But the possibility of Gasol making the move all the way to North Carolina as a member of the Charlotte Bobcats is already being refuted in reports.

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer wrote about the situation on Tuesday and said the deal is not likely:

The Charlotte Bobcats have been in contact with the Los Angeles Lakers concerning veteran big man Pau Gasol, but a source familiar with the discussion downplayed the likelihood Gasol would end up a Bobcat by Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

Just when it looked like Gasol might actually be in another jersey after Thursday, it was sniped down before ever getting in the air.

The league source speaking with Bonnell said that there have been talks about the player, which means there is clearly interest by both sides. But giving up a first-round pick for the Bobcats might be too much.

Charlotte is clearly trying to make the playoffs this year—which appears to be a rare case for teams in the Eastern Conference—but the investment in Gasol would mean they would need make some noise in the postseason.

But as a No. 7 or 8 seed, if they make the playoffs at all, the Bobcats would be facing either the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers. A 34-year-old Gasol isn't going to help them jump that hurdle.


Jordan Hill Trade Appears Likely

The Jordan Hill situation with the Lakers hasn't been pretty, but it might be over soon.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Lakers have been in talks with the Brooklyn Nets about a potential deal for the forward before the deadline:

The Los Angeles Lakers have had discussions on a deal to send forward Jordan Hill to the Brooklyn Nets, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Nets have a $5.25 million disabled player exception that they can use in a trade or free-agent transaction until March 10, and could use a portion to absorb the remaining $3.5 million on Hill's expiring contract.

Hill has been somewhat productive during the 19 minutes he's averaged with the Lakers, averaging 8.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. But the relationship with Mike D'Antoni has been toxic, as Wojnarowski also mentions that Hill likely won't re-sign with the team in the offseason.

If the Lakers can get the deal done, it would make sense for both sides. The Nets need a power forward on the bench who can help during a playoff run if they get there and the Lakers would certainly like something in return for Hill if he's going to walk after the season.

Though the Lakers might not get anything great in return, getting rid of a player who isn't meshing with the coaching staff doesn't seem like a bad way to go before the deadline.


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