NBA Trade Rumors: Could T'Wolves Send Kevin Love to Lakers for Pau Gasol?

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2011

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 9: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots over Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 99-94.   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)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

While a potential trade involving the Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol and the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love may sound crazy at first, there is reason to believe it could help both teams (and a third in the deal I'm about to speculate on).

The report that started all this Love-for-Gasol talk came from Eric Pincus of HoopsWorld and the possible trades he details are worth checking out.

The deal I'm thinking of would involve a third team with available pieces that could help fill some gaps and needs for the Lakers and T'Wolves.  That team is the Portland Trail Blazers.

Some of the Portland players who may be available this summer include Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez and Marcus Camby.

After another disappointing season for Minnesota, the team seems to have as many pieces in the rumor mill as any other in the league.  Michael Beasley, Jonny Flynn, the No. 2 pick in this year's draft and now Kevin Love may all be up for grabs this offseason.

For the Lakers, their most talked-about assets over the last month have been Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.  Considering Bynum's age (23), his play in the second half of the season (11 points and 12 rebounds a game) and postseason (14 and 10), he looks like the keeper for the Lakers.

According to Pincus, if Gasol does become available the T'Wolves would be interested in acquiring the Spanish big man because of the relationship he already has with incoming rookie point guard Ricky Rubio.

Since Kevin Love doesn't fill a glaring need for the Lakers, it would make sense for other pieces to be in play.  That's where the Blazers come in.  They have players that would help both the Lakers and T'Wolves and could satisfy needs of their own in a deal like this:

Lakers Receive: Kevin Love, Andre Miller, Martell Webster and Minnesota's No. 20 pick

Timberwolves Receive: Pau Gasol and Rudy Fernandez

Trail Blazers Receive: Jonny Flynn, Darko Milicic and Devin Ebanks


Lakers 2011-12 Starters: Andre Miller, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Kevin Love and Andrew Bynum

The Lakers would downgrade slightly at power forward in the short-term, but Andre Miller is much better than Derek Fisher and Martell Webster gives them some shooting off the bench they desperately need.

Plus, Kevin Love is on his way to becoming one of the league's best bigs and L.A. can use the No. 20 pick on a young point guard like Reggie Jackson or Norris Cole (to replace Miller in a year or two).

 

Timberwolves 2011-12 Starters: Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Michael Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Pau Gasol

For Minnesota, they'd land not one, but two great Spanish players who would have instant chemistry with Ricky Rubio.  They'd make his transition to the NBA much easier as well.

The loss of Kevin Love would be softened by the presence of Anthony Randolph.  He started just three times last year, but he averaged 19.3 points and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes a game in those starts.  There's reason to believe those games weren't flukes.  For his career, he averages 17 and 11 per 36 minutes.

 

Trail Blazers 2011-12 Starters: Jonny Flynn, Wesley Matthews, Gerald Wallace, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby

The Blazers want to get younger at point guard and center.  Flynn and Milicic accomplish that for them.

Flynn had a solid rookie year (13.5 points and 4.4 assists a game), but spent little time on the floor this past season.  He still has the potential to be a solid NBA point guard and would experience tremendous growth under Portland head coach Nate McMillan.

As for Milicic, he's still widely regarded as a huge bust, but he did prove to be a serviceable big man this year, particularly on defense.

 

At this point, any chatter on these kinds of deals is just that...chatter.  It will be very interesting to see who actually gets dealt this summer.  Of the players on the long list of availables, Gasol and Love probably aren't near the top in terms of likelihood of being dealt.  But it sounds like they're there.

 

You can follow Andy Bailey on Twitter @Andy_Bailey


For more 2011 NBA draft coverage, stay tuned to Bleacher Report for updated NBA mock drafts, NBA draft rumors, NBA draft results and draft grades.