Lakers Rumors: Latest on Pau Gasol, Return of Steve Nash and More LA Buzz

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2012

FRESNO, CA - OCTOBER 07:  Pau Gasol #16  and Steve Nash #10 of the Los Angeles Lakers talk as they walk to the bench during the game with the Golden State Warriors at Save Mart Center At Fresno State on October 7, 2012 in Fresno, California.  The Warriors won 110-83.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are currently 12-14, and that's after a three-game winning streak. Injuries, a lack of chemistry and general poor play have left the Lakers well off their expected pace and that has caused fans to wonder how they can fix the issues.

While getting Steve Nash back on the court would certainly help, that alone might not be enough to get the Lakers back where they want to be. That's the main reason Pau Gasol's name keeps coming up in trade fodder.

The only sure thing is Lakers fans are getting frustrated. Let's take a look at some of the latest buzz around the team as L.A.'s front office decides what to do next.


Pau Gasol

Gasol returned to the Lakers lineup on Tuesday night, scoring 10 points and grabbing nine rebounds in 29 minutes after sitting out for two weeks with a knee injury. Not even sitting on the sidelines could stop him from being the focus of trade talk, though.

Chad Ford of ESPN states the Minnesota Timberwolves are interested in the power forward, but the NBA insider isn't confident they can build a package good enough for the Lakers to accept. He mentions the Milwaukee Bucks as another option.

Stalemates have been a common theme in Gasol trade discussions this season. Teams are interested because of his strong track record, but finding a deal that works for both sides has proven difficult. With each passing week, the Lakers seem better off standing pat for now.


Steve Nash

Although it's taken longer than Laker Nation hoped, it sounds like Nash is getting close to his return. The superstar point guard has been sidelined since the end of October with a lingering leg injury. He has played just two games.

He's back at practice and might be back in the lineup on Saturday night when the Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. A Christmas Day clash with the New York Knicks is the backup plan.

Of course, that report is assuming Nash doesn't suffer any setbacks as he begins to pick up the intensity during practices. The eight-time All-Star would provide a boost to the Lakers, but it will take some time before he finds top form.


Josh Smith

It's no surprise the Lakers have been linked to Smith in the past. The versatile 27-year-old forward would be the perfect glue guy for Los Angeles, and would certainly bring some energy to an aging roster in need of a spark.

Alas, Steve Kyler of reports the Hawks have no interest in a trade that would send Smith to L.A. in exchange for Gasol. It's something that's been talked about for a while, but Kyler says there's nothing to it.

When you consider Gasol is only averaging 13 points and nine rebounds, the Hawks are wise to avoid trading a major piece like Smith for him at this point. Even though things can always change before the deadline, it appears the Lakers will need to look elsewhere if they decide to move Gasol.