The Los Angeles Lakers' struggles this season have been well-documented. Really any time the Lakers do anything...it's well-documented.
Making headlines for the Lakers this season? Acquired Dwight Howard from Orlando. Terrible start to the season. Fires head coach Mike Brown. Hires Mike D'Antoni as replacement. Kobe hits 30Kpts. Any and all Laker struggles are place on their all-star big man: Pau Gasol.
Pau Gasol has taken the brunt of the criticism thanks to his 'soft' play and his inability to play in new head coach, D'Antoni's system. It's because he doesn't fit in Mike's system that he's likely to be moved, however GM Mitch Kupchak is adamant that they won't trade Gasol until he has a chance to play with Steve Nash (in this new system). It remains to be seen exactly when Nash will be back, but Kupchak's stance on trading Gasol could change before then.
They reportedly have offers on the table already, one of which comes from our Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves are rumored to be offering 2011's #2 pick Derrick Williams, big man Nikola Pekovic and either Luke Ridnour or J.J. Barea. In return? Pau Gasol. The other comes north of the border from the Toronto Raptors. They're reportedly offering former #1 pick Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon and swingman Linas Kleiza.
So, what do I think about the TWolves' offer? How do you 'type' a fart sound? I'm against any and all trades that involve Nikola Pekovic. He's my favorite player. Not only is he one of the best interior scorers in the League and the strongest player in the NBA, he's ever improving and only 26 years old. Pau Gasol is more talented, however he comes with a bigger price tag, questionably healthy knees and he's 32. As far as Derrick Williams and Luke Ridnour/J.J. Barea, I'd be all right with that. Derrick Williams isn't ever going to have the kind of role on this team that he'll need to become a serviceable forward in this League. He needs a team like the Bobcats, that he can grow with and be a big part of their rotation. I'd prefer Luke Ridnour goes, my stance on those two (Luke & J.J.) has changed over the past couple weeks. Don't get me wrong, I (now) like them both, however J.J. has shown to be a much better player, the way he can drive the lane for easy layups or a kick out to a wide open teammate is making me like him more and more.
If I was the Lakers, I'd take that Toronto offer and run! They get the stretch four that they want in Bargnani. A big man to play alongside Dwight that'll make defenders roam out of the paint to cover him leaving Dwight with more one-on-one situations down low. They get a backup point guard in Jose Calderon. Jose is a very capable starter in this League and with Steve Nash's health and return date in question (as well as Steve Blake's) the Lakers would get a HUGE upgrade over their current starting point guard: Chris Duhon. Lastly they also get a solid shooting swingman in Linas Kleiza. Kleiza could come right in as the backup to World Peace and provide shooting and defense off the bench. The Lakers get three great rotation players for the underperforming Pau Gasol!
If Pau did get traded to Minnesota my initial reaction wouldn't be pretty (only if they have to give up Pekovic). If there is a way that the TWolves could acquire Pau Gasol and not trade Rubio, Kirilenko, Love or Pekovic I would be okay with this. If Kahn was able to pull that off...oh wait...this is Kahn we're talking about... Nonetheless, a starting lineup of Rubio, Lee (or Shved?!), Kirilenko, Love and Gasol would go from fringe playoff team to top 5 seed in the West.
Clearly this is a very short-term look at things, if the Wolves are giving up D-Will & Pek, they're looking to win (a lot) NOW! It makes sense though, owner Glen Taylor is looking to sell the club (it's easier to sell a winner), Adelman is 66 and has two years after 2012-13 on his contract AND you also want to keep your superstars happy, Kevin Love & Ricky Rubio won't want to stick around a club that's 'allergic' to winning.
Hearing that the Wolves are okay with including Pekovic in this deal tells you that they aren't so sure they want to be the team that pays him this summer. Pek is a top center in this League and if guys like JaVale McGee & Omer Asik are getting deals between $8-$12 million, you can expect a max deal for Nikola.
That's all for now, this isn't the last we'll hear about this, Kahn will be interested until the day Gasol gets traded...and let's be frank, we all know Pau won't be a Laker come the Trade Deadline in February. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!