Lakers Rumors: Latest on Josh Smith Trade Buzz, Steve Nash and More from L.A.

Alex KayCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2012

Dec 13, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith (5) in action against the Charlotte Bobcats during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 113-90. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be the most interesting team in the NBA, largely due to their lack of success so far this season and track record of making blockbuster deals at the trade deadline.

Almost every single day, more rumors and buzz leak out from L.A. Let’s take a look at the latest rumblings surrounding the franchise in today’s rumor roundup.


Hawks Never Had Interest in Gasol?

We heard yesterday (via a Los Angeles Times report) that the Lakers rebuffed trade talk from the Atlanta Hawks concerning a Josh Smith-for-Pau Gasol swap.

However, Steve Kyler of HOOPSWORLD’s sources are reporting that this is not a fact, but likely just speculation. They go on to say that the Hawks have no current interest in Gasol and never coveted the Spanish power forward.

This is discouraging news for Lakers fans, who are pinning much of the blame for L.A.’s struggles on the injured big man—a player that just doesn't seem to fit in coach Mike D’Antoni’s run-and-gun system.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Lakers brass decides to move Gasol, but it’s apparent that they are willing to wait for Steve Nash to return before making any rash trades.


Nash Back to Practice?

While not a clear sign that Steve Nash will be back soon, the news that the superstar point guard will try and return to practice at some point this week is encouraging.

According to Mike Trudell of, the two-time MVP will not be joining Gasol—who is likely to return on Monday—on the practice floor, but will be running and doing drills in the near future.

Steve Nash is not expected to join Gasol in Monday's practice, but Nash does hope to practice this week.

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 17, 2012

With more than a quarter of the season already in the books, L.A. direly needs Nash back on the court to improve its chances of making the playoffs and earning a high seed.

There’s a chance the Lakers can turn the ship around—and rip off a serious winning streak—once Nash reunites with D’Antoni and runs the offense that launched both of their careers.


Kobe Retiring After Next Season?

Since his retirement has become a topic of conversation this season, Kobe Bryant has been waffling on his future plans as if he were Brett Favre.

As per Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register, the Black Mamba seems to be indicating that playing beyond the 2013-14 campaign might not be in the cards for him.

Kobe continued to suggest retirement after next season, saying about playing additional years: "That's a lot of work."

— Kevin Ding (@KevinDing) December 17, 2012

It certainly would be a lot of work, but Bryant has not only managed to play for 18 years, but he also hasn't lost much of his effectiveness over that span—despite having had to alter his game to account for his reduced athleticism.

Lakers fans would hate to see Kobe hang up his sneakers after next season, but they would understand the superstar's decision if the Mamba's game was seriously declining.

Bryant's decision will likely depend on his health and his team's performance at that juncture. We'll keep you updated if we find out anything new concerning Bryant's potential retirement plans.