As the Lakers prepare for their visit to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio spoke out on behalf of fellow Spaniard Pau Gasol.
“[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.”
Gasol has voiced his frustration multiple times this season, especially on his recent move to the bench.
“It’s been the last two years that it seems like they don’t want him, but actually they need him,” Rubio said. “He’s a great player. He can do a lot of things and he had some issues with the knees too. It’s been a lot of years without resting for him. But he’s a veteran. He knows how to play.”
Rubio and Gasol have played together for the Spanish national team. They remain close friends.
The Lakers do not seem close to a major deal, but the trade deadline is Feb. 21. The Timberwolves have been linked to Gasol, primarily off his relationship with Rubio.
“It’s hard, when you are hearing things with the rumors that you are going to be traded, to be focused,” said Rubio.
Gasol was nearly dealt to the Houston Rockets in 2011 in a three-way deal that would have netted the Lakers Chris Paul. The deal was scuttled by Commissioner David Stern, acting as owner of the New Orleans Hornets, prior to the franchise’s recent sale.