The Minnesota Timberwolves are trying hard to land Pau Gasol.
If they have to part with the highest draft choice in franchise history after just one season, the Wolves appear ready to do it.
That much became clear leading up to the NBA draft on Thursday, when Minnesota offered Derrick Williams in hopes of landing the second pick from the Charlotte Bobcats to help get Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers, two people with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press.
The people requested anonymity because the talks were meant to remain private. The deal never came together before the draft began, and the Bobcats stayed at No. 2 and took Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
The Timberwolves are expected to continue their pursuit of Gasol in hopes of putting him with fellow Spaniard Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love on a revamped roster aimed at returning the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2004.
The Wolves' interest in Gasol has long been rumored, with the highly skilled big man considered an ideal fit for coach Rick Adelman's corner offense, and the kind of playoff-tested veteran needed on one of the youngest rosters in the NBA. He's close friends with Rubio, the Wolves' superb young point guard who is recovering from a torn ACL and hopes to be ready early next season.
Gasol has teamed with Kobe Bryant to win two titles in Los Angeles, but always seemed to catch the brunt of the criticism when things went wrong.
That happened again this year when he averaged just 12.5 points along with 9.5 rebounds in the playoffs, and the Lakers were eliminated in the second round by the younger, quicker Oklahoma City Thunder. He often appeared to get lost in the shuffle while Bryant and Andrew Bynum got most of the touches on offense.