Pau Gasol's salary right now is already one of the most expensive in the league at $18,714,150. However, his deal also comes with a 15% trade kicker, which some (who noticed the kicker) have reported would bring it to about $21.5 mil if he was traded.
Unfortunately for Gasol, as a vet with 10 years experience, the Collective Bargaining Agreement limits max deals can be 35% of the cap, so the max he can make is $20.3 (35% of $58 mil).
Some may point out that to be traded, Gasol would have to waive some of his trade kicker, and so he'd carry a de facto no-trade clause. However, the CBA automatically reduces the kicker to an amount that brings him to the max, and the player has no say in it.
Finally, while next year's salary cap may be fixed at $58 mil again regardless of BRE, players' contracts can surpass the max with normal raises. Gasol's deal will increase in proportion to his original deal, so the bottom lineis, if Gasol is traded, he will make a whopping:
2011-12: $20.30 mil
2012-13: $20.61 mil
2013-14: $20.92 mil
As for my personal opinion, I think trading a Derrick Williams package for Pau Gasol would be a short-sighted deal for the Timberwolves future. The team has some severe needs that need to be addressed, and if a trade hamstrings them financially and also removes Derrick Williams, the Wolves use up two of their best tradable assets without fixing the major problems. In my opinion, trade targets should have some of these characteristics:
1. Go-to scorer, particularly in the 4th quarter
2. Someone who can get their own shot off
3. Strong defender
4. Fits for age
5. Fits financially
I don't think that Pau Gasol really matches any of these characteristics.
Worse, we are complicating our already unbalanced line-up, pushing Pekovic to the bench just when we needed someone to rise up. While this trade may improve the team this year, with its current holes, the Wolves wouldn't be a legitimate contender this year or in the future. Moreover, two years from now when Love has the leverage to force a trade, will he be happy that the team spent its assets to duplicate his position?
Derrick Williams has value as a player, and as a longterm rookie deal. Gasol may be better than Williams, but is he worth more than Derrick + $15 mil we could spend on a swingman?
As a numbers guy, I'd strongly suggest spending our assets elsewhere.