There is a strong case to be made that injuries and trades are related to each other, almost as close as a brother-sister relationship. In the NBA, where teams are always trying to make upgrades to their roster, those two things play an even more important role as the season moves along.
Teams will look at their injury situation, then decide whether to make a move or not because of it. We heard the Los Angeles Lakers constantly say they wouldn't consider dealing Pau Gasol until Steve Nash returned from a broken leg.
As we approach the new year, here are the latest rumors coming from the Association involving injured stars and trades.
Eric Gordon Making Real Progress
The New Orleans Hornets are toiling away at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, so they need all the help they can get. Since this is the giving season, the injury bug appears to be cutting them some slack.
According to Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com, Eric Gordon, who has yet to play in a game this season, has been practicing with the team.
Dell Demps said Eric Gordon, who is working out on the NOLA hardwood as we speak, has been cleared for full contact.— Jim Eichenhofer (@Jim_Eichenhofer) December 23, 2012
In addition to that, Jennifer Hale of Fox Sports reported on Wednesday that Gordon was with the team in Orlando for their game.
Considering that the Hornets are 29th in points per game, getting Gordon back on the floor will be a huge mental boost. Even if it takes time to get him back into top playing shape, this franchise needs another consistent scoring threat on the outside besides Ryan Anderson.
Wilson Chandler Ready to Practice Soon
Which Team Needs The Most Help Right Now?
With the Denver Nuggets fighting to stay in the still-early playoff race, they can use more depth and scoring.
Enter: Wilson Chandler.
The 25-year-old has played in just four games this season due to a hip injury, and is averaging a career-worst 6.5 points per game with a paltry 31.3 shooting percentage.
According to Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post, the Nuggets believe that he will be back practicing after the 1st of the year: "Denver expects forward Chandler, as well as backup point guard Julyan Stone, to return to practice in the first week of 2013."
Even though his season has yet to really get started, Chandler should have little problem coming back and making an impact in George Karl's run-and-gun style of offense.
Rip Hamilton On The Block Again?
The new year is going to be very interesting for the Bulls, who have decisions to make about players when Derrick Rose returns from his knee injury.
One name the team could be floating on the trade market, assuming he is able to prove that he can stay healthy, is Richard Hamilton, according to Aggrey Sam of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
The team holds an option to re-sign Rip Hamilton next season, making him the equivalent of an expiring contract due to the low guaranteed money, and since the summer I've heard that they would be receptive to offers for him and have even dangled his name a bit.
Hamilton has played in just 15 games this season due to a foot injury, and he played in just 28 games last season, so there are a lot of questions that have to be answered before any deal involving him can happen.
However, even with the injuries, Hamilton has still been a valuable asset. He is still shooting at a high percentage, which could make him a strong candidate to come off the bench for a team down the line.
The Bulls might be better off keeping Hamilton when Rose returns, as their offense is not going to scare anyone until they prove they belong in the conversation with the better scoring teams in the league.