Which NBA stars are on the trading block leading up to the league’s Feb. 21 deadline? Several deals have reportedly been in the works or are at least being discussed as we approach the New Year.
Trades this time of the year don't usually live up to the hype, especially those like the rumors swirling around Pau Gasol. The Los Angeles Lakers big man has been rumored to be the block for as long as we can remember.
It's the instantaneous moves like the James Harden trade that come out of nowhere that captivate us. Could Gasol be moved in a big package that ends up changing the league's landscape?
Sure, but no one would be surprised by it. Everyone knows the players in a potential deal and what the Lakers would likely get back.
Let’s take a look at the latest buzz surrounding the biggest names possibly on the move before the trade deadline.
Anderson Varejao, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
The oft-injured 30-year-old big man has been rumored to be in trade talks before. Cleveland obviously didn’t demand enough back in return for their star center and held onto him in hopes he would help solidify the young team.
That hasn’t happened. Injuries to both the Brazilian and key players around him have hampered the rebuilding process in Cleveland.
Varejao has done nothing but raise his stock this season, averaging 14.5 points, 15.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game through 20 games.
Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com quoted a source as saying that Varejao is likely open to trade:
One league source suggested that Varejao would be open to a trade rather than playing the best basketball of his career on a 4-17 Cavs team that seems poised for another trip to the lottery.
He went on further to say:
The general consensus around the league is that it makes sense for Cleveland to cash in Varejao for some assets that will be in their long-term plan. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.
Derrick Williams, F, Minnesota Timberwolves
Williams, a disgruntled second-year forward and former No. 2 overall pick, isn’t happy with his playing time in Minnesota, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN on Dec. 7.
His agent, Rob Pelinka, has reportedly engaged with the Timberwolves’ management in an attempt to help his client. While he hasn’t requested a trade yet, he told them he could down the line if the situation continues as it is.
Williams is a tough player to place in the league because he’s a tweener forward. He’s perceived as not being big and strong enough to play a true four but also not athletic and quick enough to play the three.
Minnesota already had a similar player in Michael Beasley, who is no longer with the team. Williams should be dealt, but the Wolves’ asking price could be steep because of his high draft position.
Pau Gasol, F, Los Angeles Lakers
Gasol has been constantly discussed as a trade option for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was traded once already, but the league blocked the deal.
The talks aren’t dying down anytime soon though.
Both the Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves have engaged the Lakers recently in hopes of acquiring the 32-year-old forward, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.
Here’s what Stein and Shelburne had to say about Gasol’s outlook of being moved before the deadline:
Trade speculation involving Gasol nonetheless shows little sign of abating, even as the 32-year-old is being held out of the lineup to combat a worsening bout of knee tendinitis. Gasol has not been shelved because a deal is imminent, sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com Tuesday, but Kupchak has advised Gasol's representatives that the Lakers will have no choice but to start exploring a trade if the former All-Star is unable to eventually adjust to D'Antoni's system.
Los Angeles is reportedly not interested in Minnesota’s trade packages that feature the aforementioned Williams and center Nikola Pekovic.
Toronto has been using forward Andrea Bargnani, point guard Jose Calderon and forward Linas Kleiza in attempts to acquire the Lakers’ big man, according to the same reporting.