By Mike Bresnahan and Mark Heisler
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
June 26, 2007
Minnesota owner Glen Taylor was expected to be in the Timberwolves' offices this morning before departing for a honeymoon in China. His appearance at team headquarters suggested a quick resolution on the Lakers' proposal, which includes forward Lamar Odom and center Andrew Bynum.
However, sources said that Kevin McHale, the Timberwolves' vice president of basketball operations, wasn't keen on the Lakers' offer.
Another topsy-turvy day -- a phrase used often to describe daily happenings during the Lakers' off-season -- began Monday with prospects of a four-team trade and ended with the Lakers and Timberwolves still having the same rosters.
Taylor and Lakers owner Jerry Buss began the groundwork for trade talks with a 20-minute chat on Friday. That conversation expanded Monday into discussions about a deal involving the Lakers, Minnesota, Indiana and Boston, in which the Lakers would have received Garnett. However, the deal broke down, reportedly because the Celtics didn't like what they would have gotten, ending the four-way negotiations.
The Lakers are now back to direct talks with the Timberwolves. Although the 19-year-old Bynum would satisfy one need, the fact that the Lakers have the 19th pick in Thursday's draft isn't high enough for the Timberwolves' tastes.
In another scenario, the Lakers could include center Kwame Brown in the deal and also acquire Troy Hudson or Marko Jaric to address a need for a ballhandling guard while lifting an unfavorable contract off the Timberwolves' books.
Lakers officials declined to comment Monday.
Acquiring Garnett could address the concerns of Kobe Bryant, who demanded to be traded four weeks ago.
Bryant met with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak for about an hour on Friday, a day after Garnett rejected a trade that would have sent him to Boston.
Bryant did not step down from his desire to be traded at that meeting, although Kupchak, Buss and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson met later that day to discuss options based on the assumption they would still have Bryant, The Times has learned.
Garnett, 31, has never formally asked for a trade while signaling his distress in recent years as the Timberwolves fell from top-notch status. The No. 1-seeded team in the Western Conference in 2004, they lost to the Lakers in the conference finals and haven't made the playoffs since then.
The Timberwolves finished 33-49 in 2005-06 and 32-50 last season, tied for 12th in the West with Portland.
Garnett can opt out of his contract after next season. He wants an extension, which Buss reportedly told Taylor he was willing to offer. Garnett is due to earn $22 million next season and $23 million in 2008-09, the last year of his contract.
Garnett, a 10-time All-Star and the 2004 league most valuable player, averaged 22.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.7 blocked shots last season while showing few signs of slowing down, other than spending the last five games of the season in Los Angeles -- he has a home in Malibu -- to rest a sore right quadriceps.
Bynum, 19, started his second NBA season with a flurry, including a memorable game against Minnesota in which he had 20 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots last November.
But Bynum struggled during the second half of the season and finished with averages of 7.8 points and 5.9 rebounds a game. The Lakers have been criticized by Bryant for not trading Bynum at the February trade deadline in order to get Jason Kidd from New Jersey.
Odom, 27, was acquired three years ago as part of the trade that sent Shaquille O'Neal to Miami.
He averaged 15.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season and sat out 26 games because of knee and shoulder injuries. He had a torn labrum in his left shoulder repaired last month and is expected to return in time for training camp in October.
Hudson, 31, has three years and $18.9 million left on his contract. He averaged 5.9 points and 2.1 assists in 34 games in an injury-marred season. He recently requested a trade.
Jaric, 28, has four years and $27.4 million left on his contract. The former Clippers guard averaged 5.3 points and 2.1 assists in 70 games last season.
He has been a disappointment since signing a six-year contract as a free agent two years ago, although his 6-foot-7 body would be a plus for Jackson, who favors taller guards in the triangle offense. Hudson is listed at 6 feet 1 and is more of a push-the-pace type.