The Minnesota Timberwolves remain interested in Pau Gasol and were willing to part with forward Derek Williams -- the second pick in 2011 -- ahead of Thursday's draft to help swing a deal. In theory, notes a report this afternoon, the idea was to eventually net the Lakers forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who would be selected by Charlotte with the second pick after Anthony Davis went to New Orleans.
Obviously it didn't happen.
In theory, at least, Minnesota would still be willing to put Williams into a post-draft package aimed at prying Gasol away from the Lakers.
Meeting the media after the Lakers completed their draft, general manager Mitch Kupchak said the Lakers are doing what they can to improve the team. "I know we have great fan interest, that are watching closely, so hopefully we can do something good. So we always try to hit a home run."
To me, a "home run" means a trade improving the Lakers in the short term -- getting younger if possible -- while alleviating financial pressures going forward. I have no idea if Kidd-Gilchrist will be a star someday. Certainly a lot of people paid handsomely to determine this sort of thing think he could be. Mostly, I like him because he sounds like someone carrying six shooters into the saloon en route to a crooked poker game. Williams was inconsistent in his rookie year, but is still very young (21), obviously talented, and could become an outstanding pro.
But Kidd-Gilchrist wouldn't have improved the Lakers next season, and neither will Williams. And unless the other players coming back to L.A. to balance salaries were higher end -- less likely given the value of those two young chips and the rosters of the teams involved -- the trade wouldn't either.
That's not a home run.
The day might come when the Lakers feel compelled to settle, moving Pau for the proverbial half a loaf, whether to pull in rebuilding pieces or cutting down on their tax figure, but that day isn't June 29th. It's much, much too early to settle. Either way, though, this sort of report emphasizes how hard it will be to trade Gasol while still improving the 2012-13 squad.