NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Pau Gasol
2012 may have been the longest year of Pau Gasol's life.
From the relentless criticism of his postseason play to the never-ending trade rumors, you'd be hard-pressed to find a player more ridiculed yet acclaimed than Pau Gasol.
Hopefully you didn't think that the end of the season would lead to the end of the commotion.
The rumors have picked up where they left off, as the summer of 2012 has proven to be just as hot as the winter. From under-the-radar suitors to returning favorites, the time is now for Gasol to be moved.
Here's insight as to who Mitch Kupchak might pull the trigger on dealing him to.
Los Angeles Lakers Shopping Pau Gasol
Kobe Bryant may be saying goodbye to Pau Gasol.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Here we go again.
Per a report via Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Lakers have begun to shop Pau Gasol around the league. While the Lakers haven't yet struck or come close to a deal, they are currently attempting to gauge the trade value Gasol still holds.
As for what they expect to gain, the Lakers are looking for "an established player along with [a draft] pick if they're to part with Gasol."
With the 2012 NBA draft having passed, that goal may have changed or simply brought attention to what should be a deep class of wingmen in the 2013 NBA draft.
Regardless of what they ask for in return, expect quiet interest from at least half a dozen teams as the offseason progresses.
Minnesota Timberwolves Making Push for Pau Gasol
Could Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio unite in Minnesota?
Harry How/Getty Images
Much as they did in an attempt to acquire the Bobcats second overall draft choice, the Timberwolves are using a fresh young face as trade bait.
According to Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN, that player just so happens to be the second overall draft choice in the 2011 NBA draft Derrick WIlliams.
At this point in time, it's unclear as to whether or not the Los Angeles Lakers will take the bait. With Michael Beasley poised to hit free agency and leave the Timberwolves one talented man down, however, the urgency may be at an all-time high.
Landing Derrick Williams would be nice, but throwing in Nikola Pekovic may be the icing on the cake. That's the only deal the Lakers should be hearing about.
Houston Rockets No Longer Pursuing Pau Gasol
Harry How/Getty Images
According to Chad Ford and Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Houston Rockets are no longer in pursuit of Pau Gasol. Their selection of two versatile small/power forward hybrids Royce White and Terrence Jones in last night's NBA draft supports that claim.
In December of 2011, Gasol and the Houston Rockets were nearly united via a high-profile trade that David Stern controversially vetoed. The Rockets remained in trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers, keeping Pau Gasol as the focal point all the way up until the trade deadline.
Nearly three months later, it appears the interest has finally died down.
Gasol will need to find a new home if the reports are true.
Atlanta Hawks Aggressively Pursuing Gasol for Smith Swap
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Hawks and new general manager Danny Ferry are aggressively pursuing a potential swap of star power forwards. The deal would send Pau Gasol to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for star forward Josh Smith.
Bresnahan continues to report that Smith has been unhappy in Atlanta for over a year, calling for new management to target him as the player who must be dealt elsewhere. This puts Smith and Gasol on equal ground as each have their critics who believe they're in desperate need of a fresh start.
While Smith may not be the caliber shooter or low-post presence Pau Gasol has proven to be, he is one of the best pure athletes in the game. The 26-year-old is also one of the most active defenders in the NBA, finishing the year with season averages of 9.6 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game.
Paired with Smith's 18.8 points per game, it becomes clear how much Smith could bring to the athletically-inept Los Angeles Lakers' weak lineup. Love Gasol or hate him, this is a deal that the Los Angeles Lakers must pursue.
Lakers Targeted Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on Draft Night
As quiet as the Lakers' draft night may have been for fans and the commissioner, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Lakers were more active than we believed. As soon as the second pick was registered, however, the commotion ceased.
Bresnahan reports that the Lakers were interested in trading Pau Gasol for a high draft choice in order to land Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The former Kentucky star ended up going second overall, however, as Michael Jordan once again got the best of the Los Angeles Lakers and drafted him to Charlotte Bobcats.
Lakers Remain Interested in Deron Williams, Pau Gasol Swap
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Just when you thought the Lakers' interest in Deron Williams had tailed off, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that L.A. will not give up in their pursuit of the star point guard. Even with Williams' claim that he's only interested in the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks, the drama won't end in Tinseltown.
Per Stein, the likelihood of the potential sign-and-trade does remain far from occurring.
The Los Angeles Lakers, likewise have continued to express interest in a sign-and-trade package built around Pau Gasol for Williams, sources say, despite the Nets' longstanding insistence that they have no interest in Gasol and would only consider such a move if they were getting back All-Star center Andrew Bynum, whom the Lakers have not made available.
Once again, Pau Gasol is at the heart of a trade. The question is, will the Lakers be willing to include or replace Gasol with Andrew Bynum?
Andre Iguodala for Pau Gasol?
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
According to John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Los Angeles Lakers may strike a deal with Kobe Bryant's hometown team. Mitchell reports that Andre Iguodala is once connected to trade rumors, with Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers being the most likely candidates to get the deal done.
Just like last offseason, forward Andre Iguodala is connected to more trade rumors than any of his teammates. The 28-year-old forward has been mentioned in a possible deal involving the Los Angeles Lakers and center/forward Pau Gasol, something the Sixers front office will neither confirm nor deny.
With the Lakers in need of an athletic perimeter player, this deal may heat up in the coming weeks. Considering the Lakers decision to shop Gasol, as well as Elton Brand continuing to show signs of aging, the likelihood of such a deal certainly improves.