Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak made that clear Monday night in the wake of my report that Derrick Rose let it be known to Bulls management that he would welcome a trade that would bring Gasol to Chicago — a deal that would likely include Carlos Boozer and another player being sent from the Bulls to the Lakers.
“As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player,” Kupchak said in a statement released by the Lakers. “Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come. To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans.”
Uncharacteristically, Rose did not speak to reporters in the locker room following Chicago’s 90-79 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Chicago Tribune did not delve into the Gasol trade report other than beat writer K.C. Johnson posting a dismissive tweet that could end up costing him a beer, but Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times reported this: “A source with knowledge of the situation said no such request by Rose was made publicly or privately, but it’s possible someone close to Rose made that sentiment known.”
Another arm of the Tribune Company, the Los Angeles Times, posted a link on its Lakers blog reading: “ Sheridan Hoops’ Chris Sheridan reports that Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose told management he wants them to acquire Lakers forward Pau Gasol in a trade.”
Actually, that is not what I reported.
The key word in that sentence is “told.”
In my report, I did not claim that Rose told anybody anything. I said he had “let it be known.”
It is semantics, but semantics are important in a story of this magnitude.
If someone were to ask Rose whether he “told” that to Bulls management, he could be completely truthful in saying “no.”
But if someone asked Rose whether he had made his thoughts on Gasol known through an intermediary, it would be interesting to hear his exact answer.
I discussed the Gasol-Boozer trade possibility on the radio in Chicago this morning on the Waddle & Silvy Show, and we more or less agreed on what would be acceptable for the Bulls to surrender on the back end of that deal. Click to listen to the interview.
Kobe Bryant openly criticized Lakers management over the weekend for not bringing some semblance of clarity to Gasol’s situation, and Kupchak’s statement seemed to be issued as a response.
Beat writer Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times said the Lakers are resolute about not trading Gasol unless they get back a young star, and there is no movement toward any deal involving Gasol, who has two years and $38.3 million left on his contract after this season.
“It’s something that us players have to deal with, especially being in a franchise that obviously always wants to be the best,” Gasol said after the Lakers’ 103-92 victory over Portland. ”I’m trying not to let it affect me at all because it’s something that I can’t control.”
Bryant declined further comment after Kupchak’s statement.
“I already said what I had to say,” he said. “I’m done.”
Meanwhile, Chris Broussard of ESPN.com said Lakers have had discussions with the Timberwolves regarding power forward Michael Beasley.
“The Lakers were actually in discussions with Minnesota about a potential trade for Beasley before the season started. If they would have been able to pull off the deal for Chris Paul, there is a good chance that a trade for Beasley would have followed,” Broussard wrote. “It’s not clear what the Lakers would give Minnesota for Beasley (if indeed the talks get that far), but the Lakers could absorb Beasley into their $8.9 million trade exception while giving up a draft pick or cash. I’m told the teams have not spoken about Pau Gasol since the preseason.
“Minnesota is looking to move Beasley, who they feel has matured very little (if at all) since he’s been there, according to sources. The Lakers believe they can handle a player like Beasley because of their winning culture and the leadership of Bryant. Of course, the Lakers need a point guard even more than a small forward. While they worked out Gilbert Arenas last week, they have not come to a decision on him. They want to see if they can get another point guard, such as Cleveland’s Ramon Sessions, before making a play for Arenas. There’s a good chance they can get Sessions for a first-round draft pick before the deadline, sources say. If they don’t get Sessions or someone else, they may bring Arenas aboard,” Broussard wrote.