Tag:David Kahn
Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:23 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 10:23 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Northwest Division

A look at what is at stake for the NBA's Northwest Division if a whole season was lost due to the lockout. Posted by Ben Golliver.


Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division, the Atlantic Division, the Central Division and the Southwest Division. Let's continue with the Northwest Division.  

MINNESOTA Timberwolves

The NBA's worst team won just 17 games last year, had the league's seventh-worst home attendance and is generally mentioned at the top of the list of examples that "prove" the NBA's economic system is broken. That's because their local television, ticket and memorabilia revenue simply cannot compete with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics of the world. Despite all of that, the Timberwolves might very well have more to lose than any other team in the Northwest Division if the league were to miss an entire season.

Let's start with 2009 lottery pick Ricky Rubio, who against all odds took the plunge and decided to finally join up with Minnesota. For multiple seasons, Rubio has represented hope, carrying Timberwolves fans through ugly winters and late-season collapses. The wait was excruciating. The uncertainty about whether he would or wouldn't stay in Europe further into the future made it worse. Now that he's on board, he's been greeted at an airport, introduced to his teammates, sold some jerseys and rallied the collective fan spirit a bit. To lose an entire season would make that interminable wait that much longer. It would also rob Rubio of a valuable development and acclimation year, which would be an absolute disaster. This is a point guard who needs to start on Day 1, entrusted with the full support of his coaching staff and allowed to make mistakes and build chemistry with his teammates while learning on the job. No season means no opportunity to do any of that.

Aside from Rubio, there are financial risks as well. That might be surprising, because the Timberwolves currently are the only team in the NBA that does not have anyone on their books for more than $6.3 million next season, a fairly astonishing accomplishment. Of course, there's a catch: All-Star power forward Kevin Love is on his rookie deal. Indeed, Love is heading into the last pure season of his rookie deal before Minnesota either must issue him a qualifying offer or sign him to an extension. Worse yet, it's possible that Love, one of the league's premier rebounders, will command a mini-max extension or close to it. The point here? He's set to make just $4.6 million next season, a bargain for his production. If the season is lost, the Timberwolves miss out completely on that outstanding value and are one year closer to biting the bullet on extending him without having reaped full benefits. That's tough.

Last but not least, a lost season is the perfect excuse for any franchise to delay tough decisions or to talk themselves into trying to make things work. With an imbalanced roster full of mixed and matched pieces, the Timberwolves, despite their accumulated talent, are going to struggle mightly again next season. The pains of those struggles, theoretically, could be enough to finally convince owner Glen Taylor to pull the plug on president David Kahn, a man who hasn't shown the ability to construct a team and outright wasted two second round draft picks on technical mistakes during the 2011 NBA Draft, by trading a hurt player (Jonny Flynn) and drafting someone who lied about his age (Tanguy Ngombo). A year without games, then, is a year without losses, which means another year for Kahn to preach patience and wiggle out of responsibility for this mess. The sooner Kahn is gone, the sooner this ship turns around. A lost season will make "sooner" feel like never.


While the Timberwolves need to get headed in the right direction, the Oklahoma City Thunder are already there. With the best designed roster in the league, two young All-Stars, an undisputed Northwest Division title and a Western Conference Finals appearance under their belt already, and a passionate fanbase that is guaranteed to provide 40+ home sellouts next season, the Thunder would happily start the season today. A lost season, then, would be a nightmare.

Name something, anything, and it's at risk for the Thunder. They lose the value of Russell Westbrook playing on a rookie deal. They lose the value of James Harden on a rookie deal. They lose the value of Serge Ibaka on a rookie deal. They lose one year of Kevin Durant's Hall of Fame playing career. They lose another season of playoff experience. They lose a very good chance at making a run at an NBA Finals. They lose a season of having their top eight players (Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefalosha, Nick Collison, Eric Maynor) all locked into affordable contracts. They lose the chemistry and momentum that goes with having an entire nucleus together for multiple years.

What's worse: they have nothing to gain from a work stoppage, other than perhaps the money that would come with increased revenue sharing. Without a single bad or untradeable contract on their books, there is no financial reason OKC would root for a year away from the game. In fact, any change to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that firms up the cap would make it more difficult for the Thunder to keep all this talent in house. That means they wouldn't get the chance to win now and their ability to win later could be compromised.

Usually, young teams that make a deep run through the playoffs can't wait to get back on the court for a second go-around. Multiply that feeling by about 10 and that's the situation facing OKC. 

PORTLAND Trail Blazers

lockoutYou might think the injury-plagued Trail Blazers would welcome some time off to lick their wounds and assess the damage, but missing an entire NBA season wouldn't necessarily be a good thing for this franchise. Really, it's a muddled picture.

The main benefit is clear: the Blazers have a very difficult cap situation next season, thanks to a mini-max contract for guard Brandon Roy, who is apparently no longer capable of reaching his previous All-Star level of play. Saving the $15 million owed to Roy, as well as the $10.5 million owed to aging center Marcus Camby, would be a tempting proposition for most small-market owners. Money aside, saving the miles on Roy's knees wouldn't hurt either.

Blazers owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, however, has dealt with serious health problems in recent years and is clearly in spend-big, win-now mode. He would cut a check tomorrow for five times his team's total salary cap if it meant a shot at the NBA Finals, no questions asked. It's difficult to imagine a financial enticement that would make it worth Allen's while to take a year off. 

Aside from Roy, the other big question is center Greg Oden. Missing an entire NBA season doesn't play in Oden's favor, as he hasn't taken the court for an NBA game since December 2009. A lost season means his layoff would extend nearly three full years to October 2012. That's a long, long time to be away from basketball. Complicating that further for the Blazers is the fact that Oden is a restricted free agent this summer. The Blazers would retain matching rights on Oden if a season was lost but they would be forced to offer him an extension without being able to see whether he recovers fully to be able to take the court and, more importantly, withstand injury once he's out there. Oden could command a mid-level type of offer on the open market, which would be a major investment for Portland, because the Blazers have already committed to nearly $80 million in salary for next season, with contracts to Roy, forwards LaMarcus Aldridge and Gerald Wallace and guard Wesley Matthews already on the books into the future. Without another center on their roster who is in their long-term plans, though, the Blazers wouldn't have a choice. They'd have to pay up. Given that situation, you want as much information as possible; a lost season would mean no information.

Finally, the Blazers have a big question at the starting point guard position. His name is Raymond Felton, and he was acquired in a draft day trade for previous point guard Andre Miller. Felton is in a contract year and hasn't played meaningful minutes with any of his current teammates, except for a stint in Charlotte with Wallace. Felton will require a good-sized contract extension next summer as well and the Blazers would surely like to see how he gels with their core, particularly Aldridge, before they commit to him long-term. Without any starting quality options on the roster, they would again find themselves stuck in a corner, forced to do what it takes to retain Felton without a readily available back-up plan.

To boil it down: the Blazers have enough questions without a lost season. Missing a full season would simply create an array of complications and made some tough roster decisions that much more difficult and, potentially, costly. 

DENVER Nuggets

Sure, the Denver Nuggets lost franchise forward Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, but they did an excellent job of stripping their roster down to allow for a quick bounceback rebuilding effort. The Nuggets, somewhat like the Thunder, are in a financial position where their salary cap situation makes it more advantageous for next season to take place unhindered. The Nuggets currently don't have a truly horrible contract on their books, although the mid-level deal for Al Harrington and the $15 million or so left to be paid to Chris Andersen over the next three years are regrettable. Indeed, the Nuggets have committed to less than $40 million in salary for next season, pending a potentially major financial commitment to big man Nene, who has decided to test the free agency waters, and a decision on guard J.R. Smith.

The biggest risks for Denver would be missing out on the value of point guard Ty Lawson on his rookie deal and managing whatever concerns might arise about Denver's ability to use its salary cap flexibility to continue work on its rebuilding situation. Most analysts believe teams with salary cap room will be in a position of strength, regardless of how the new CBA shakes out, so perhaps that uncertainty is more of an annoyance than a true concern. 

The Nuggets have a lot of questions. How will they spend their money? Who will they bring back? Who will they let go? Are the players under contract currently good enough to compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference next year or is it better to continue slashing and burning for another season? These are good questions to have because they all point to one fundamental truth: The Nuggets have flexibility thanks to their young, cheap assets. The worst case scenario is that Nuggets fans have to wait a year to watch a promising, athletic upstart group entertain. That's not too bad. 

If I'm the Jazz, I'm totally cool with taking a year off. A lost season means that Utah would save $14 million owed to Al Jefferson, $10.9 million owed to Mehmet Okur, $9.3 million owed to Devin Harris and $8.1 million owed to Paul Millsap. While Millsap is probably worth his number, the other three certainly aren't worth theirs, especially on a team that lost its foundational identity when it shipped franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets at the trade deadline.

Right now, Utah's finances are pretty tight, with $61.5 million already committed for 2011-2012. Look ahead just one year, though, and that number drops to $48.7 million. To make things even nicer, Jefferson, Harris and Millsap will all be expiring that season. The Jazz will be poised to take advantage of their new-found flexibility, keeping the parts that fit (probably only Millsap) and dispensing with the rest.

The biggest risk in a cancelled season for Utah would be the lost development for younger guys like Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward and 2011 first-round picks Enes Kanter and Alec Burks. In Favors, they have a potential franchise forward who needs to start enjoying a loose leash so he can blossom into the player the Jazz expect him to be. Forcing him to take a year off does him no good and, depending on how he responds, could do him some harm. Kanter, meanwhile, looks like an even bigger risk on paper because he was forced to sit out last year at Kentucky, his only year at the college level, due to eligibility issues and because he hasn't yet tasted the NBA game. A lost season would mean two full years away from competitive basketball, not an ideal situation for someone the Jazz selected with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft. As for Hayward and Burks, they are lesser concerns. Both have shown promise and clearly have room for improvement. Losing a year wouldn't be critical, but it would be better for them individually if it could be prevented.

On balance, the financial rewards seem to outweigh the development risks for the Jazz.

Salary numbers courtesy of StoryTeller's Contracts.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 3:39 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 5:02 pm

Michael Beasley busted for pot possession

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley was reportedly busted for pot possession. Posted by Ben Golliver. michael-beasley
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on David Kahn.

Multiple reports on Wednesday indicate that Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley was recently cited for possession of marijuana.

The Star-Tribune reports that Beasley was stopped while driving but was not under the influence.
Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley was cited for marijuana possession after being pulled over for speeding in Minnetonka, police said Wednesday.

The traffic stop occurred about 3 a.m. on June 26 on Hwy. 12 near Carlson Parkway, said Capt. Scott Boerboom. Beasley was driving 84 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone, Boerboom said.

Officers who stopped Beasley, 22, smelled marijuana in the car and found slightly more than a half-ounce in the vehicle, Boerboom said.
Kare11.com is also reporting the citation and notes that Beasley's offenses are "petty misdemeanors which will result in fines."

The Star-Tribune notes on Twitter that it's "unclear" whether Beasley will be subject to fine or suspension by the NBA, but the citation was handed out prior to the lockout going into effect on July 1.

The citation comes less than two years after another marijuana-related flap involving the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Beasley entered rehab in 2009 after posting pictures of himself with marijuana on Twitter. 

Kahn made headlines in July 2010 after trading for Beasley. The Timberwolves president said, ""He's a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he's not smoking anymore, and I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case."

The NBA fined Kahn $50,000 for those comments. 

It has been assumed that Beasley is a trade piece for the Timberwolves after the organization drafted University of Arizona forward Derrick Williams with the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Beasley and Williams are both score-first combo forwards and it's unlikely there are enough minutes and shots for both players. 

The 22 year old forward has been slapped with the "red flag" label since his rehab stint. Another run-in with the police involving marijuana, even a minor one during a lockout, isn't helping his reputation or his trade value.

Beasley averaged 19.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in 32.3 minutes per game last season, his first with the Timberwolves. He was acquired from the Miami Heat in a trade that helped clear space for the arrival of free agents LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Posted on: June 26, 2011 3:16 pm
Edited on: June 26, 2011 3:18 pm

Did Wolves' Kahn target Duke's Coach K?

David Kahn, president of the Minnesota Timberwolves, reportedly tried to contact Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski. Posted by Ben Golliver. coach-k

It's been a phenomenally intriguing week in the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Point guard Ricky Rubio finally came over from Spain, the team successfully drafted Derrick Williams instead of Enes Kanter, the team made five trades on draft night, the team tried to draft a player in the second round who had lied about his age and was way too old to be drafted, the team had to cough up an extra draft pick because Jonny Flynn's physical raised a red flag after he was traded to Houston, and news hit that president David Kahn was finally ready to cut loose coach Kurt Rambis.

Amidst all of those moving pieces comes an extraordinary new wrinkle: the New York Daily News reports that Kahn apparently reached out to legendary Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski to gauge his interest in the job.
Timberwolves GM David Kahn, made a run at Mike Krzyzewski.

Talk about a waste of time. Coach K once turned down a chance to go to the Lakers and coach Kobe Bryant in his prime. Did Kahn really think that he could get Krzyzewski to leave his Duke kingdom? He did.

"He tried to get him," said one Kahn confidante. Kahn was looking for a miracle or two.
HeraldSun.com reports that Krzyzewski denied through a university spokesperson that contact had taken place.
While a published report said the Timberwolves were interested in hiring Krzyzewski as they were moving to fire coach Kurt Rambis last week, the coach said through a school spokesman that it was a non-starter.

Duke spokesman Matt Plizga said he spoke with Krzyzewski Saturday night and the coach said "no one had contacted him and he hadn't contacted anyone" about the Minnesota job.
It goes without saying that Krzyzewski would not consider the Timberwolves coaching position for one instant unless there was a 2000% raise attached, which, given the team's financial situation, is impossible. 

Let's assume that Kahn did give consideration to Krzyzewski as a potential replacement target for Rambis. Is that totally delusional or just a head of basketball operations doing his due diligence in pulling together the best possible early list of candidates? 

Given years of Krzyzewski's public statements of loyalty to Duke and the multiple times he turned down high-profile jobs that could possibly have paid him more money, it's unclear how he would ever make a list of coaching targets for the NBA's worst team. There's nothing tying Krzyzewski to the city, franchise, management or current coaching staff. (Unless you count Timberwolves forward Kevin Love playing for Coach K on Team USA, which you shouldn't.)

The next person to raise a good reason for Krzyzewski to leave college basketball's top program for the NBA's weakest sister will be the first. In other words, if this happened, in any way, shape or form, it was pure delusion. Rambis' replacement will almost certainly be a current NBA assistant coach looking for a step up, not a Naismith Hall of Famer looking to take 10 steps down. 
Posted on: June 24, 2011 5:54 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 7:26 pm

Wolves buy pick, take ineligible player

Posted by Matt Moore

Funny story. 

So while the Wolves were having what is being called a "good" draft by taking Derrick Williams, the second best player in a two-pick draft with the second spot, and then trading a top 20 pick down to get several second rounders, most of which they traded, they did spend to pick one up. The Wolves and David Kahn bought the rights to the No.57 pick in the draft from Dallas, then took a guy name Tanguy Ngombo. 

Ngombo was out of Qatar, and showed up in an impressive showing at the Asian Games.  Wolves assistant Phil Philo found him and the Wolves thought they had themselves a steal in a 21-year-old foreign prospect. What a great story, nice to see the Wolves finally get through a draft without a real embarrassme....

Yeah, so he's not 21. He's 26.

Draft Express originally put him into the sphere of public knowledge, and mentioned the Philo connection. DX also dug up the info that shows he's 26. Which means he's ineligible. Even Qatar lists himi as being born in 1984. The result is the pick will be voided. 

Now, let's say this was just the Wolves' natural 2nd round pick. That would be a bummer, but not really as bad. After all, he was unlikely to come over anyway and even if so may have been terriible. It's a late second-rounder, after all. Or say that they had picked up the pick as part of another trade as an asset they didn't really care about but the other team threw in as a deal-sweetener. That would be acceptable. It's no worse, really, than most of the picks in the second round which are really Euro stashes who will never come over to the A. 

But the Wolves bought the pick. So after making all these moves in order to free up cash, presumably to afford the buyout on the remainder of Kurt Rambis' contract, they then spent money to acquire this selection... and then drafted a player who lied about his age and was ineligible. 

At one level, you feel bad for Philo. Found a prospect, thought it was worth a flyer, talked his organization into making a move for him. Everyone makes mistakes. And maybe Qatar and FIBA are both wrong, and he's 21 and this isn't an issue. Plus, it's not like a second round pick is really worth much and it's not like the loss of a huge asset; the pick couldn't have cost that much. 

But it's just the fact that once again the Wolves can't get out of a draft without stumbling and falling. They traded back to get value, and wound up picking up Brad Miller's contract and drafting a guy who's older than LeBron. Just when you think we have nothing to make fun of the Wolves about, Kahn's organization strikes again.

(HT: SBNation.com)

Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:03 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 12:07 am

NBA Trade: Wolves, Rockets trade Miller, Flynn

Posted by Matt Moore

The Wolves finally did it. They managed to get rid of Jonny Flynn. After months and months of discussion, the unhappy marriage that began in 2009 ends as Ricky Rubio finally dons a Wolves uniform and the other point guard selected is shipped off. 

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports:
The Rockets-Wolves deal: JFlynn and No. 20 Montiejunas to Houston for Brad Miller, No. 23 Mirotic and future 1st, sources confirm.
So. Just to review. The Wolves try and move the No.2 for a month. Can't do it. Take Derrick Williams when they have Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph. Have another top twenty pick when they need talent. And then trade it for another Euro center that likely won't come over, Brad Miller who is nearing the end of his career despite having several years left on contract, and a future 1st. Maybe the 1st will be good. 

Meanwhile, the Rockets have acquired a point guard no one wanted, who they are now reportedly trying to trade, when the have both Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic. And they surrendered a future first rounder just to get rid of Brad Miller who was a mistake to sign last summer, and Montiejunas. 

The Rockets struggled defensively last season without Yao Ming and desperately need a center to bring toughness. So naturally they've traded for Motiejunas whose biggest questions were toughness and effort. It's not that Motiejunas lacks upside, he's got great range and scoring ability. But his questions defensively more than outweigh the good elements, which is why he plummeted out of the lottery and all the way to No.20. But the Rockets needed a center, and they got one.

Winner: We'll give it to the Rockets, only because they managed to take in less money and Motiejunas might surprise. It's neck and neck though.

Loser: Let's say it's the Wolves. Mirotic might be great and the future first is nice, but they have Milicic and Pekovic, and now Miller and his money. An odd trade all around.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 9:26 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 9:29 pm

Report: Rambis to be fired after the draft

Posted by Royce Young

It's been a long time coming for Kurt Rambis. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported months ago -- literally -- that Rambis would be fired as head coach of the Timberwolves.

According to Yahoo! Sports, it's finally going to happen, right after the draft. I guess his book report wasn't good enough for David Kahn.
Kahn isn’t expected to announce the decision until after Thursday’s NBA draft, but he’s already begun collecting information on prospective replacements for Rambis, including University of Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, sources said. The Timberwolves have gathered background on Romar for several weeks, and are expected to make him a candidate to replace Rambis.

Kahn met with Rambis last week and believes he has reached an impasse with the coach. The relationship between Kahn and Rambis deteriorated over the course of the past season, to the point where there’s been little communication between them.

Lorenzo Romar? That is just so... Kahn. But this firing really has been coming for a while. Interesting though how strung out it was and that for some reason the Wolves are waiting around to do it. I don't really understand why wait. It should be like a bandaid -- right off.

It's possible that Ricky Rubio's arrival set the wheels in motion finally as the triangle system really doesn't fit a point guard like Rubio. The Wolves have been saying that they want to play up tempo and fast and while Rambis had his team in the top five in pace, they still stayed within the triangle structure. Obviously that's not what Kahn and management have in mind for their new floppy-haired point guard.

Rambis still has two years left on his original four-year deal. During those two seasons with the Wolves, Rambis went 32-132 as the head coach, including a league-worst 17-65 this year. The wolves 32-132 record the past two seasons is up there in terms of futility during a two-year span. And this is with Kahn saying in April that the building project was done. Except for the coach, I guess.

With as dysfunctional as the situation and locker room became in Minnesota, not only is Rambis being moved out not a surprise, but it makes me wonder who exactly is raising their hand real high for a shot at this team. Which is sad, because I think there's a lot of fun talent to work with.

I'm sure Rambis will get another shot as he was one of the most highly sought after assistants before he left the Lakers and took over the Wolves. That roster was never built to succeed and Rambis was left trying to implement a system with players that never fit it. There's talent there, but the whole thing is a mess. The next guy will have some players to work with, but it'll be a big job in figuring out how to use the rag-tag bunch of raw talent Kahn has accumulated.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:59 pm

Kanter back on the Wolves' board?

Posted by Matt Moore

I thought we had this settled. The Wolves were not going to take Kanter, it was down to Derrick Williams or a trade, and all was right the world. Well, chaos has just been reintroduced, potentially. 

ESPN reports:
Late Tuesday night, sources told ESPN.com that the Wolves were strongly considering taking Enes Kanter with the No. 2 pick.
via Wolves considering Kanter at No. 2? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.

Kanter would actually make a lot of sense. It doesn't create the logjam at SF for the Wolves after they used assets to acquire Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, and while Darko Milicic has been serviceable... he's still Darko. Ricky Rubio with Love and Kanter means they just need to find perimeter weapons and they're set, with Wes Johnson a definite maybe at one spot.

But hold on there, fellows and fellowettes. From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
If Minnesota is unsuccessful in procuring a veteran star for the second pick, sources said the Wolves are comfortable selecting Arizona's Derrick Williams, who team officials strongly believe will be on the board after the Cavaliers select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving.
via Draft buzz: Nash, Smoove, and more - CBSSports.com.

ESPN also backed off on the Kanter talk today, saying it might be a smokescreen.  If it is, you have to wonder if the Wolves realize that if you leak a hundred things (as they've been rumored in talks with everyone except the Harlem Globetrotters, Manchester United and the New York Giants' cheerleading squad), it doesn't make what you're doing seem mysterious and unknowable. It just makes you seem like you don't know what in the holy name of Garnett you're doing. 

Kanter makes the most sense, so I'd steer clear of that pick as a selection for the Wolves. Much better to go with the player they don't want or need or their continued pursuit for a veteran star to pair with the Wolves who David Kahn says is done rebuilding. In truth? The Wolves likely won't know what they're doing until the call is made to Newark Thursday night.
Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:31 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:49 pm

Report: Odom offered for Wolves' No. 2 in draft

Posted by Matt Moore

For the last week, rumors have been floated about Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum being involved in trade talks by the Lakers. Every scenario has been shot down from one side or another and the pretty constant refrain has been that those two are not on the table for L.A., as they want to continue to compete for a championship. Yup, pretty clear those guys aren't going anywhere. 

Lost in all this was the question of whether Lamar Odom was on the table. According to the L.A. Times, he is.  
The Lakers tried to move up in Thursday's NBA draft by offering forward Lamar Odom to Minnesota for the Timberwolves' No. 2 overall pick, but Minnesota turned them down, according to two NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the trade talks. The Lakers wanted to use the No. 2 pick to select Arizona's forward Derrick Williams, the officials said.
via Lakers offer of Lamar Odom for No. 2 pick in NBA draft rejected by Timberwolves - latimes.com.

The apparent interest from the Lakers in Williams is somewhat confusing. Williams is not considered an out-of-this-world lock, he's not even the top player in the draft. He's older, and it's unclear if he'd fit in with the kind of alpha dog mentality he'd have to face from Kobe Bryant. On the flip side, it may show a dedication to keeping the Lakers relevant beyond just the current team's run, as Williams would inherit the team from Bryant just as Bryant inherited... okay, won the team in a cage match with Shaq. It would be very Lakers-like to turn a supporting component like Odom into next decade's star player just as the current team fades into a lesser state due to age.

But so far, it hasn't been enough. The Wolves were the one to reportedly reject the trade, because they feel Odom's a power forward and that position is committed to Kevin Love. Why they wouldn't employ Odom as a small forward in given situations is a little baffling, but again, it's the Wolves. You glean what you can.

Still, Odom being on the block means there have been rumors about all three of the Lakers' primary frontcourt assets. As much as the Lakers keep selling the idea that it's buisness as usual and they're in no rush to remake the team through a trade, the grapevine tells a different story.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com