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.
Blazers assign rookies
The Trail Blazers assigned rookies Will Barton and Victor Claver to Portland’s development league affiliate, the Idaho Stampede.
Barton has played in 16 games for the Blazers this season, averaging 2.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game. The guard was the 40th pick in the June draft out of Memphis.
Claver, a 6-foot-10 forward from Spain, was selected by the Blazers in the 2009 draft and signed with the team this summer. He has appeared in four games this season.