Just like the seeming decline of the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA rumor mill simply will not stop. With trade speculation starting to ascend toward its February apex and the free-agent market still simmering, there are moves to be made in the coming weeks.
Particularly on the free-agent market, there are still a cabal of able-bodied veterans who are out there getting themselves into shape and hoping for a call. As teams continue to evaluate their rosters in regards to talent and injury to figure out where the massive deficiencies lie, those phones may start ringing off the hook.
At least for a couple guys, that's already happened. With that in mind, here is a look at all the latest buzz floating around the league
Lakers Still Favorites to Land D-12 in Offseason Despite Slow Start?
The most underrated subplot of the Lakers' early-season troubles doesn't involve Pau Gasol or Mike D'Antoni, but instead, Dwight Howard. Considered a virtual lock to re-sign with Los Angeles upon arrival, some have begun speculating about whether Howard will make his stay a one-and-done if the problems persist.
Well, there's no need to worry, Lakers fans—at least not yet. According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, the Lakers are still the heavy favorites for D12's services come July:
Make no mistake, the Lakers are still the front-runners in the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes. After all, Howard enjoys the city, and the Lakers can offer him a five-year contract worth $117.9 million while other clubs can pay him only $87.6 million over four years.
As Broussard points out, there are more than a few non-basketball factors working in the Lakers' favor. No matter how much money he's made as a player, it will be awfully hard for Howard to turn down an extra $30 million guaranteed—especially when his beloved Nets are out of the picture.
With Dallas and Atlanta the only truly plausible suitors on the market, it's likely that Howard will sign with Los Angeles simply due to circumstance. But with the team seemingly in a tailspin, it's still possible peace of mind will end up outweighing $30 million in the offseason.
Mike Bibby a Possibility for Grizzlies?
Well, it turns out ESPN's John Hollinger isn't the only man making news in Memphis. According to USA Today's Sam Amick, Bibby worked out for the Grizzlies on Wednesday, as the free-agent guard is still looking to latch onto a team:
According to two people with knowledge of the situation, the Memphis Grizzlies are working out veteran point guard Mike Bibby on Wednesday in Phoenix. Bibby, the 34-year-old who lives in the Phoenix area, has been out of work since playing 39 games for the New York Knicks last season.
While he would certainly be a good locker room presence for the Grizzlies, one has to wonder whether Bibby has anything left in the tank. The 34-year-old guard averaged just 2.6 points per game last season with the Knicks and hasn't registered a league-average PER in four years.
Still, Memphis could use some offensive backcourt help, and Bibby can still knock down an open shot on occasion.
Per Amick, Bibby is working out with "four or five" teams, so nothing is anywhere near a lock yet. However, as Memphis continues to ascend into title contention, the team will try to find any way to get better coming off the bench.
Look for the move to happen if the front office deems Bibby worthy.
Calderon "Made It Clear" He Wants Traded?
On the block since the Raptors traded for Kyle Lowry in the offseason, Jose Calderon has come in handy for Toronto all season. Lowry's first year with the team has been plagued with injuries, and he's now out an indefinitely with a triceps injury.
That doesn't change the fact that Calderon is in a state of purgatory no NBA player wants to face.
For now, Calderon has played the good soldier and said all the right things publicly. However, according to Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the Spaniard has made it clear to general manager Bryan Colangelo that he wants traded:
Point guard Jose Calderon has made it clear that he would like to be traded, and Colangelo continues to explore the possibilities there as well. A Raptors trade of some significance, more than likely, is on the horizon.
The most obvious team currently looking for a point guard is the Lakers. Steve Nash's return from injury is going far slower than anticipated and the team is spiraling without a point guard to run Mike D'Antoni's system.
Unfortunately, barring a Pau Gasol trade, there aren't many movable parts in Los Angeles that the Raptors covet. That means until another team starts scouring the point-guard market, Calderon will likely be stuck in the Great White North.