Whether in work settings or in a classroom, we've all played the classic icebreaker game, "two truths and a lie." Well, in the always-fluid NBA rumor mill, it seems like we're always playing a game of one truth and a hundred lies.
That's obviously not to say reporters are fabricating stories. They're not. It's just that there is so much information being bandied about regarding possible trades, signings, hirings and firings that it would be impossible for all to come to fruition.
If all of the rumored moves eventually happened, we'd essentially be playing a real-life version of NBA 2K13. And while that sounds fun in theory, no one wants real life to imitate a video game.
That's why it's our job to sift through the rumors and figure out which ones actually bear some semblance of truth. They obviously aren't all going to happen, but finding those kernels of sensible speculation is what helps us know what to truly focus on in the interim.
Which current rumors make the most sense? Here is a breakdown of a few rumors we're buying from around the Association.
The Los Angeles Lakers may be righting the ship and a mere half-game out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but that doesn't mean the team-wide drama is a thing of the past. And, no, we're actually not talking about the Antawn Jamison situation this time.
Instead, it's Dwight Howard and his future plans that have been in the news of late. Though most expect the Lakers center to resign with the team, there's at least one squad that's hinging its summer of 2013 plans on Howard. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Dwain Price, that team is the Dallas Mavericks:
We're buying this for one readily apparent reason: The Mavs have no other choice. Chris Paul looks more like a guarantee to resign with the Clippers with every victory, and widespread turmoil during Howard's first season with the Lakers could eventually turn him off to the franchise.
Enough to turn down an extra year of financial security? That remains to be seen. However, with Dallas languishing near the bottom of the Western Conference, adding a superstar of Howard's caliber may be the only way to right the ship.
Andrea Bargnani may have missed the Toronto Raptors' past nine games, but that hasn't kept his name off the trade block. The team is actually 7-2 since the 27-year-old forward-center left the lineup and Ed Davis has admirably stepped in as a starter.
According to Hoopsworld's Steve Kyler, that nine-game sample size has been more than enough to make Bargnani expendable. Per Kyler, it's now "inevitable" that the Raptors will trade their former No. 1 pick:
Bargnani is no longer in the picture in Toronto, they'll play him to prove he's healthy, but a trade is almost inevitable at this point— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) December 30, 2012
Obviously, Bargnani's name was being tossed around before his injury. He was shooting only 39.8 percent from the field on the season, which essentially usurps his entire value. With the team struggling, it was only a matter of time before trade rumors leaked out, and Bargnani will still have some value on the open market.
Look for the Raptors to give Bargnani a short-lived audition to prove his health before shipping him out of the Great White North.
Despite a myriad of controversy, it seems like DeMarcus Cousins' suspension has actually done some good. The Sacramento Kings are 2-0 since his return, and the big man even dropped a triple-double in Sunday's win over the Boston Celtics.
Nevertheless, the incessant trade rumors about Cousins just won't stop. The 22-year-old forward-center's career has been plagued with little instances of questionable behavior, and Cousins' hiring of Dan Fegan isn't helping matters.
Fegan's influence may already be taking over, according to USA Today's Sam Amick. Per Amick, Fegan and Cousins have already picked out an ideal team: the Washington Wizards:
Specifically, two people close to the situation who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation said a trade to the Washington Wizards would be considered ideal for Cousins and Fegan because Cousins could rejoin former Kentucky teammate and fellow Fegan client, point guard John Wall.
I'm not one who usually buys into this type of speculation, but Fegan's presence looms large here. He's better known as the man partially responsible for orchestrating 2012's Dwightmare, and his hiring coincided with Cousins' suspension.
It's also not like the Wizards are in any position to turn down a trade for Cousins. They're in dire straits cap-wise and in the standings, so pretty much anyone on the roster other than John Wall should be on the table.
The P.J. Carlesimo era as Brooklyn Nets interim coach has certainly started well. Brooklyn won games Friday and Saturday, getting inspired performances from Brook Lopez in both contests.
Under normal circumstances, that would be enough to have some speculate about whether Carlesimo would be keeping the job long-term. Well...not in Brooklyn. Phil Jackson's name continues to crop up as the Nets' top target, so much so that anything less than landing the Zen Master could be a bust.
What will Brooklyn do if Jackson rebuffs the advances? According to USA Today's Sam Amick, the Nets may just wait to find Avery Johnson's permanent replacement until the offseason:
The Nets are willing to wait until the offseason to find a new coach "if the right name is not there," one person with knowledge of their plans told USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the matter. But because of their serious interest in Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson, it's far from certain that the job will still be available by season's end.
The move to fire Johnson may have been an obvious pressing of the panic button, but it seems like Brooklyn general manager Billy King is dead-set on finding a big name. Jeff Van Gundy is the other name that keeps cropping up and he's reportedly made it pretty clear that he would prefer to wait before taking an offer.
If Jackson turns them down and they're satisfied with the job Carlesimo is doing in the short-term, waiting on Van Gundy may prove to make the Nets look awfully smart down the road.
Once thought to be the final piece in the Chicago Bulls' championship puzzle, Richard Hamilton's year-plus in the Windy City hasn't gone exactly as planned. He's nothing short of a mild disappointment, proving that downtick in play with the Pistons was not merely a malaise.
With his recent injury allowing for the emergence of Marco Belinelli, it's becoming readily apparent that the Bulls will trade Hamilton if the right offer comes along. According to CSN Chicago's Sam Aggrey, the Phoenix Suns may have interest in being that team:
Actually, I'm sure they could find a taker -- Phoenix, for one, is a team that I've heard has some interest -- but at this stage of his career, Hamilton and his representatives might not be open to playing for a non-contender, even for half of a season.
This makes sense for pretty obvious reasons. Phoenix has been desperately searching for help at shooting guard dating back to its offer sheet agreement with Eric Gordon, and playing Jared Dudley there isn't a long-term fix. Hamilton may not be either at this point. However, he's a strong veteran presence in a locker room that hasn't exactly been the happiest bunch this season.
That alone makes Hamilton an attractive option. Whether he reciprocates the affection is still very much up in the air.