Wessel: Kahn shoots down Gasol rumors, but is he telling the truth?
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MINNEAPOLIS -- David Kahn called an impromptu press conference Friday in an attempt to squash any rumors that the Minnesota Timberwolves are after Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Whether Kahn was telling the truth is anybody's guess. He could be. Probably wasn't. But no matter what he says, the Wolves will remain linked to Gasol until he is either dealt to another team or the trade deadline passes -- whichever comes fist.
The timing behind Kahn's denial session was odd. 20 minutes before the typical game day shoot-around, the team announced Kahn would be speaking. Kahn typically goes out of his way to avoid speaking to the media in any capacity. Before even taking a question, Kahn opened the session unprompted by denying the Gasol link. Taking it a step further by shooting down speculation that Ricky Rubio was pining to play Friday's 91-73 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The rumor mill in the NBA runs harder and turns over faster than just about any other sport. Kahn picking this instance to go on the defensive only makes this seem fishier and should cause radars to rise. This is the same guy who let Kurt Rambis dangle in the wind for months after the 2011 season before finally doing what every report said he'd do: fire him.
Kahn almost seemed like a kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and is now going on the defensive -- whether to save face with his players, the Lakers or otherwise. But even he knows this isn't going away.
The wheels to this potential trade will really start to spin once both teams get healthy and see how their starting point guard meshes with the pieces they have. Kahn said he wants to see his team with Ricky Rubio and the Lakers have said the same about Steve Nash.
Gasol has struggled to fit into new coach Mike D'Antoni's up-tempo system and is averaging career-lows in points and near his bottom in rebounds.
The love affair with Gasol for the Wolves isn't new. Rumors first popped up last summer when it was reported that Derrick Williams was offered in a package to acquire the four-time All Star. The most recent reported deal includes Nikola Pekovic, Williams and some combination of Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea to match the $19+ million that Gasol is due this year and next.
It is clear Kahn is a fan. Despite being 32, Gasol better fits the "manna from he"ven" Vlade Divac comparison Kahn infamously made with the now-amnestied Darko Milicic. And Rick Adelman shares Kahn's fascination with passing big men, hoping that a Love/Gasol frontcourt would be able to recreate the Chris Webber/Divac magic he had in Sacramento a decade ago.
And there is also the obvious Gasol-Rubio Spanish bromance further fueling his seemingly undying trade link.
So Kahn can hold daily press conferences denying ever having heard of Gasol. He could even publicly burn a Gasol jersey. But it won't matter. This is a storyline that will be around until February.