The Los Angeles Lakers are, without a doubt, the most controversial team of the 2012-13 season.
After raising expectations by reloading over the summer by adding superstars Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, they wound up firing coach Mike Brown after an abysmal start and are now playing wildly inconsistent basketball under new head coach Mike D’Antoni.
The team can’t seem to stay out of the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, and the rumors are starting to swirl that more change could come in the near future.
Let’s take a look at the latest buzz surrounding the Lakers in today’s rumor roundup.
Ryan Anderson on the Radar
With Pau Gasol greatly struggling to adapt to D’Antoni’s run-and-gun offensive philosophy, there are rumblings that the team brass will soon be placing the PF on the block and looking to bring in a player that better suits the system.
That would be none other than New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson, a player familiar with Howard that can stretch the floor with his jumper.
Davis dug a bit deeper and found that there is an internal struggle between the two most powerful decision makers in the Lakers front office: team owner Jerry Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak.
Buss is anxious to move past the Gasol era and bring in Anderson, a three-point shooter than excelled as a 4 next to Howard in Orlando last season.
Kupchak is hesitant to ship off his All-Star caliber PF, who has much better all-around skills than Anderson, until he sees the Spaniard log some minutes alongside of Nash in D’Antoni’s offense.
Even if the Lakers decide to dump Gasol and have Anderson in their sights, it will be much easier said than done.
The Hornets aren’t able to trade their newly-acquired power forward until December 15, and the Lakers would need a third team willing to take in the remaining two years and $38 million on Gasol’s contract.
While the buzz around this trade may heat up in about two weeks when Anderson can be dealt, it’s not likely anything will get done until the deadline, when the Lakers have had adequate time to evaluate their current roster.
Dwight Howard, One-and-Done?
Many forget that when the Los Angeles Lakers acquired DH12 this summer, the superstar neglected to sign a contract extension and is still set to become a free agent following the 2012-13 season.
It was an almost unanimous belief that the big man would re-up in LA., but Dan Devine of Yahoo! Sports has found that may not be the case.
"So I want to do it the best that I can and I'm going to take everything in I can to get what I can out of the NBA. Which, for me, is winning a championship," he added. "So if I have to play on another team or do whatever I have to do to get one, that's my goal. This is my passion, so I'll continue to fight."
The emphasis is Devine’s, though the fact remains that Howard dropped that bomb in a recorded interview and speculation is now going to grow that the center will bolt if L.A. fails in the postseason.
It’s currently unclear where he would go, but it's inevitable that a number of teams would do whatever it takes to make cap room and bring on arguably the best big of this generation.
Lakers fans must hold out hope that their team finds some success in these coming playoffs and re-signs DH12 to a massive, multi-year deal.
Lake Show Still Interested in Jose Calderon?
While the Toronto Raptors never used their amnesty provision on Calderon, there has been some talk that the Lakers are still interested in the veteran point guard.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Calderon is due approximately $10.5 million for the 2012-13 season before becoming a free agent, a hefty amount but also a valuable expiring deal.
It’s unclear whom Los Angeles would be willing to give up in order to acquire the crafty guard, and it’s unlikely the team has the financial flexibility to make this happen at this juncture.