The Los Angeles Lakers have been the source of a cascading waterfall's worth of rumors this season, and with the team continuing to struggle, that won't be changing anytime soon.
Pau Gasol's name has been taken off the block (for now), leaving the team's deficiencies at point guard as the Scrooge in Lakerville. There are only a few options left on the free-agent market, though, so it will be interesting to see where the team moves next.
Nonetheless, the Lakers aren't the only team with roster deficiencies worth fixing. As bad teams continue falling out of playoff contention, the intensity and breadth of NBA rumors is only going to heighten.
With that in mind, here is a look at the latest on the Lakers' point guard situation and other speculation floating around the Association.
Lakers Looking to Add Point Guard; Delonte West the Top Option?
With Steve Nash's return date continually getting pushed back and the team languishing at 9-13, the Lakers are in desperate need of point guard help. Backup Steve Blake is also facing an extended absence due to injury and the duo of Chris Duhon and Darius Morris simply won't cut it in Mike D'Antoni's system.
That leaves only two options until Nash comes back: Make a move to shore up the roster or suffer with the point guard deficiencies. Well, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, it looks like the Lakers are going with the former.
Sense I get is that D-West, widely regarded as top available PG, is at the top of Lakers' list ... but word is they'll indeed look around
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 12, 2012
West, a nine-year NBA veteran, was cut by the Dallas Mavericks back in October after being deemed a "bad influence" on the team's younger players. Still, he's undoubtedly the most skilled point guard remaining without a contract and has the ability to play both guard positions.
If the Lakers feel like they can withstand the personality problems and don't feel like making a trade, it's likely that West will be the best option available.
Cavs to Trade Anderson Varejao Around Deadline?
By now, the Anderson Varejao trade rumor wagon has gone off the rails and back on more times than anyone can count. Thought to be a goner in the offseason, the Cavaliers chose to keep the forward-center and hope that his influence would help the team's young core.
While, at 5-18, it's hard to argue Varejao's presence has helped the team to victories, he's certainly sent his trade value soaring. Varejao is averaging 14.8 points and 14.9 rebounds per game, peaking at an age (30) where most big men are on a steep decline.
Still, these are two entities tied together on completely different paths. The Cavs won't be good while Varejao is still in his prime and vice versa. That's likely why league sources have told Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy that the team will likely move Varejao by the February 21 trade deadline: "While Varejao has many fans within the Cavaliers organization, multiple league sources believe Cleveland will trade him as the February 21 trade deadline approaches."
There's no disputing that it would be mutually beneficial for both sides to make a move. Varejao has played out of his mind this season and has an attractive contract—the perfect storm for a team rebuilding.
It won't get done anytime soon, but look for Cleveland to send Varejao to a contender by the All-Star break.
Raptors "Dangling" Andrea Bargnani?
Jobs in the front office and coaching staff are on the line this year in Toronto. General manager Bryan Colangelo made moves this offseason, including bringing in Kyle Lowry at point guard, hoping to bring the Raptors into playoff contention.
Well, to put it mildly, that hasn't happened. The Raptors have started 4-19 and fans have begun voicing their displeasure with Colangelo and coach Dwayne Casey loudly. Perhaps spurred by that disappointment, USA Today's Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt are reporting that Toronto is considering making a roster move—particularly pertaining to Andrea Bargnani:
While Casey is under contract through next season, Colangelo's deal expires after this season and he's well aware that he needs to turn this tide. To that end, the Raptors are dangling seventh-year center and 2006 No. 1 pick Andrea Bargnani as trade bait but don't have any takers thus far.
The "no takers" portion of that nugget is particularly interesting and wholly unsurprising. Bargnani is in the midst of his worst offensive season in five years and is now out indefinitely with an elbow injury. Considering he's never been anything but a defensive turnstile, his 39.8 field-goal percentage essentially usurps his value.
With the season quickly moving down the drain, Colangelo needs to make a move as soon as Bargnani is cleared for action.
(All individual player stats are updated as of December 12)