Although the 2012-13 NBA season is still young and many players are still trying to carve a niche on their respective teams, some key names have already hit the rumor mill.
Some rumors and speculation seem more accurate than others. However, as we’ve seen with blockbuster deals including Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and James Harden, anything can happen in today’s NBA.
One such rumor comes to us from Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Amico said via Twitter that Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks is on the trade block. Considering that the Jazz are getting steady contributions in the backcourt from Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward and free agent pickup Randy Foye, it makes sense that management would look to move Burks.
The 21-year-old guard out of Colorado averaged 20.5 points per game during his sophomore season in college. He translates more as a shooting guard due to his low assist totals, but his lack of shooting range is an aspect of his game he needs to develop.
Burks has the potential to become a solid NBA talent, but he needs the minutes to make that a reality. Perhaps the Jazz will decide to pull off a major blockbuster by packaging Burks with either Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson.
Both Jefferson and Millsap have expiring contracts this season and the chances Utah will be able to keep both of those guys around simply isn’t feasible from a financial standpoint. It’s logical that the Jazz will look to trade one of the two before the deadline this year, especially if they’re in an uphill battle for a playoff spot.
Staying in the Western Conference, a team south of Utah may be experiencing some locker room turmoil at the moment.
According to Seth Pollack of brightsideofthesun.com, Suns center Marcin Gortat expressed his displeasure with his current situation to a Polish media outlet.
Gortat, who jumped out of the gates with a blistering start this season (even leading all NBA players in blocks for a short time), has struggled mightily in recent games. According to the Pollack article, Gortat said that head coach Alvin Gentry doesn’t consider him an option in the Suns offensive system.
Additionally, according to the Polish media outlet referenced by Pollack, Gortat has rejected a contract extension offer from the Suns. Evidently the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls have shown interest in trading for the 7'0" center if he becomes available.
Perhaps Gortat learned more from Dwight Howard during his time in Orlando than we originally thought.
Shifting to the Eastern Conference, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, Cleveland Cavaliers forward/center Anderson Varejao has been involved in trade rumors as well. Kennedy says that Cleveland received plenty of calls regarding Varejao over summer, but decided to hang on to the Brazilian.
At least so far that move seems to have paid off handsomely. Varejao has played fantastic basketball this season, including a 35-point, 18-rebound performance against the Brooklyn Nets. If nothing else, Varejao has improved his trade stock.
Nevertheless, the Cavs won’t part with Varejao for just any deal. They know the hustle and talent the veteran brings to the floor on a game-to-game basis, so unless they get tremendous value in return, I’d expect Cleveland to hang on to Varejao moving forward.
Finally, in the trade rumor department that simply will not go away, are rumors regarding Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith.
Speculation across the Internet has Smith either shipping up to Boston or west to Los Angeles to join the superstar-laden Lakers.
The Celtics would want to acquire Smith to add some youth and athleticism to an aging roster, while the Lakers would, in theory, create a package involving Pau Gasol.
However, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Hawks have no interest in parting ways with Smith (26 years old) for Gasol (32 years old). Shocking, I know.
There’s certainly the danger that the Hawks could lose Smith to free agency after this season if they don’t pull the trigger on a deal before then, but Smith would have to turn down a king’s ransom to not re-sign in Atlanta.
Who is the most likely candidate to be traded moving forward?
Whereas Smith is the centerpiece in Atlanta until proven otherwise, Gasol may be on the outs with the Lakers.
In addition to the rumors sending Gasol to Atlanta for Smith, speculation that the Spaniard could be traded north of the border is also surfacing.
In the deal, the Toronto Raptors would send backup point guard Jose Calderon (who is on the trade block as well) and his more than $10 million salary this season with former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani to Los Angeles for Gasol.
Again, this deal does not seem viable for the team not named the Los Angeles Lakers. Bargnani is younger and has a lot of the same skill sets as Gasol (although Bargnani is not nearly the rebounder or defender, he does have better shooting range).
Shedding themselves of Calderon's contract would be nice, but having a more than capable veteran point guard off the bench is never a bad thing (good example: Denver with Andre Miller, bad example: the Lakers with their mess).
Obviously the Lakers would love to have Calderon off their bench to take pressure off Steve Nash moving forward, but Gasol's stock isn't exactly at an all-time high.
There are plenty of NBA trade rumors starting to heat up, but the validity of some wild speculation may lead down some false trails. Only time will tell what players will be moved this season.