The word trade seems to hang over Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol's head like a black cloud.
In the latest Lakers trade rumor, Gasol is the guy the Minnesota Timberwolves want, reports saying that they are willing to trade their rookie forward and No. 2 overall pick from last year's draft Derrick Williams and draft picks for the versatile big man. A source told Fox Sports that the only players considered untouchable by the Timberwolves, who are seeking to add a veteran by the March 15 trade deadline, are forward Kevin Love and guard Ricky Rubio.
After being traded from the Grizzlies, Gasol (L) has spent four full seasons with the Lakers and won two championships with them. Now, he may be on his way out sooner than he wants to be. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)
It's out of my hands, said Gasol to ESPNLosAngeles.com about the potential trade. It is what it is. I'd like to be here [with the Lakers]. I'd like to make this team better and get back to a championship level, but it's not up to me.
Fox Sports also reported that the Timberwolves believe it could be enticing for Gasol to play on the same team as Rubio, a fellow Spaniard. However even that prospect doesn't seem to be putting Gasol at ease as he remains uncertain of what exactly the Lakers have in mind regarding his future.
I wish I knew, so it would give me some peace, or more peace, but I don't know, he said to ESPNLosAngeles.com. Every day I tell myself, try to let it go. Don't think about it. Have fun, be the player you are out there. That's all that you can do.
Gasol has certainly been no stranger to the trades. He was a key component of the controversial three-team trade in early December between the Lakers, the New Orleans Hornets and the Houston Rockets that would have sent him to the Rockets and guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. Of course, the NBA, who owns the Hornets, stepped in and vetoed the trade, and Paul was soon dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.
On Feb. 1, 2008, Gasol was traded from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Lakers along with a 2010 his younger brother Marc Gasol, and 2008 and 2010 first round draft picks.
In 29 games this season, Gasol is averaging 16.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 blocks, which some consider to be a statistical drop from years previous. It's possible the Lakers are also of that mindset and see trading the seven-footer as a way of rebuilding while Kobe Bryant, who turns 34 in August, approaches the end of his career.
If Gasol does get shipped to Minnesota for Williams, the Lakers would be receiving a budding talent that keeps the team younger and could potentially start, while the Timberwolves would get a multifaceted center that they have been sorely lacking. Gasol averages about a point and a half less by himself than the three centers-Darko Milicic, Nikola Pekovic and Brad Miller-on the Timberwolves roster combined (18.5).