Wolves president dismisses Pau Gasol trade talk

The Minnesota Timberwolves have long been interested in Pau

Gasol.

Now that Gasol is having trouble fitting in with new Lakers

coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense, the time would seem natural for the

teams to renew trade talks. But that’s not the case.

”There’s absolutely nothing imminent that we’re working on,”

Timberwolves President David Kahn said Friday.

Kahn called an impromptu news conference after a shootaround

leading to Minnesota’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He

addressed a report that said the Wolves have built a package around

Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic to offer the Lakers for

Gasol.

The Associated Press reported in June that Wolves did dangle

Williams in an effort to land Gasol, but Kahn said Friday that is

the last time the teams talked about it.

”I can assure you there have been absolutely no discussions

with that team since last June,” Kahn said.

Kahn has considered speaking with Williams and Pekovic to

reassure them. But he acknowledged that can be ”a slippery slope”

because while there is no immediate deal one or both of them could

be on the move in the future.

Pekovic said he pays no attention to the talk, hearing of it

only when friends contact him to see if there is truth to it.

”I just never think about it,” Pekovic said.

What does appear clear is that Kahn wants to see how the team

responds to point guard Ricky Rubio’s return to the lineup. Rubio

has been out since March with a torn ligament in his left knee. But

he has been practicing and could play in a game as early as next

week, though there is no firm timetable.

”My main concern right now is that the team simply regain its

health and then maintain its health,” Kahn said. ”That’s the No.

1 concern I have because this has been, since really the night

Ricky got hurt last March, it’s really been difficult for us to

become healthy again. Hopefully sooner rather than later the team

will become healthy again.”

Kevin Love, Chase Budinger, Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, JJ

Barea and Pekovic have all missed time with injuries this season.

The Wolves, though, have not fallen too far behind. They were 8-9

heading into the game against the Cavaliers.

”I’m very admiring of the players and the coaching staff,”

Kahn said. ”I’m admiring and proud. If you really think about it,

if we’d been at full health, we might’ve had a pretty nice record

right now because they’ve been competitive, I think, in every

game.”

The Lakers maintain they don’t plan on any moves until Steve

Nash returns from a leg injury. But Gasol, who is earning more than

$19 million this year and next, struggled to find a place in

D’Antoni’s up-tempo system. He is averaging just 12.8 points and

8.8 rebounds, and has missed the last two games and is out

indefinitely with tendinitis in his knees.

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