Playing Fact or Fiction with the Latest NBA Trade Rumors Entering 2013
Every year when December fades into January and the calendar flips is when trade rumors really start to heat up in the NBA, and it's when we've really got to separate the endless flow of nonsense from the rational ideas.
Usually, that involves dealing with some sort of trade a high-profile team is interested in, and picking apart the reasons why they can't afford or don't have the pieces to trade for another big-name star without completely mucking up their team.
This year, that trade idea really hasn't cropped up (although I'm counting the minutes before somebody comes out and tries to argue that the Los Angeles Lakers could get DeMarcus Cousins for Antawn Jamison and Chris Duhon), but we have had some big names being thrown out as potentially being on the trade block.
On the surface, quite a few of them make sense, but there are other bits and pieces that need to be considered before we can really know whether or not a deal goes down.
So let's take a look at some of those big names and which of them actually make sense to be on the move while picking out the ones that will be stationary through the trade deadline.
Andrea Bargnani: Fact
There are a lot of "what ifs?" surrounding Andrea Bargnani's situation at this point.
As it sits now, Bargnani won't be back with the Raptors for at least another week, possibly longer, and his contract situation really mucks things up. Bargs is owed $33 million through 2015, which means a big investment for any trade partner.
Lucky for Raptors fans, Toronto isn't looking for much in return for Bargs, just that some team take him as far away from Canada as possible.
His value is at rock-bottom, we're not sure how long this injury is going to last and we don't know how he's going to play after he returns, but he's going to be moved.
It's time for both parties to say goodbye, and it couldn't come a minute too soon.
Jose Calderon: Fact, Kyle Lowry: Fiction
Keeping the focus on Toronto, one of the names that was bandied about before the start of the season was Jose Calderon. Calderon is, surprise, playing terrific in a contract year. We've seen it happen hundreds of times before.
It's actually gotten to the point that the rumors swirling indicate that the Raptors might favor keeping Calderon, who has been the team's point guard through their recent stretch of wins, and moving the recently-acquired Kyle Lowry.
That seems to be a load of crazy talk if you ask me.
Why would the Raptors decide to get rid of Lowry now, after trading a pick that only has a top-three protection on it over the summer?
Don't buy into this until the writing is on the wall.
Calderon has played tremendously on offense, but he's still the same point guard he's always been. If one of the two has to go, it's Calderon.
Anderson Varejao: Fiction
The reputation that Anderson Varejao has in Cleveland is one of unbridled love and admiration. The front office loves his contract, Byron Scott loves his production and the fans love the fact that he gives a damn about this team.
That being said, all of those people could be appeased if the right package of players and picks came back to Cleveland for Andy.
However, that would take quite the package, as the only player Cleveland covets more at this point is Kyrie Irving.
The fact is that the Cavs have two more years of Varejao on a steal of a deal, and with his value taking a bit of a hit after his latest injury, there's going to be plenty of time for them to hype him back up over the summer, before next season's trade deadline, next summer or before that season's trade deadline.
He is 30, but that's not elderly for a basketball player, and the value he gives to the Cavs as a leader and a mentor might just overshadow what he would bring back in the trade market.
Pau Gasol: Fiction
It seems that the rest did Pau Gasol well, and now that he's back on the floor alongside Steve Nash, he's finally starting to find a groove.
Jumping to that conclusion this early might be a bit much, but there is plenty of evidence that points to him staying on this path, what with his increased activity on the glass, the jumpers starting to fall and the improved lateral movement on defense.
Between that and the fact that he's owed over $19 million next season is going to keep the Lakers from trading him and other teams from trading for him.
He may be right in the area of value where other teams are still wary of his knees, while Los Angeles is ready to keep him because he's helping its offensive flow tremendously.
Gasol is staying in purple and gold, for better or worse.
Antawn Jamison: Fiction
Antawn Jamison hasn't logged a single minute since December 16 and hasn't spent any time on the floor with Steve Nash since the point guard's return.
It's starting to make me wonder: Is there any value left in Jamison?
On paper, he should be the perfect player for Mike D'Antoni to work into his system. He's a stretch-4 that can pass the ball and has a level head on his shoulders, making the right decision nine times out of 10. Yet D'Antoni just isn't playing him.
Jamison's value for the Lakers comes in his ability to hit the long ball, which he hasn't been doing this season. His mid-range shot has been falling, and he's had a few games where he's absolutely exploded.
Even still, is there any market for Jamison?
Los Angeles is still very much in the stage of working out kinks, and one of those kinks happens to be Jamison's role.
It's at the point where it needs to cobble their lineup together piece-by-piece, and Jamison's piece just hasn't been put in yet.
J.J. Redick: Fact
At this point, the Orlando Magic need to ask themselves a question: Is J.J. Redick of any value to them?
He's got an expiring contract and almost certainly seems destined to leave. Even if he doesn't want to leave, he doesn't seem to fit in anywhere with Orlando's long-term plans, at least when his value there is weighed against his trade value.
If the Magic can get younger and grab a young player or a decent draft pick for Redick, then there's no reason for them to keep him on board, risking losing him for nothing in free agency.
He's a very desirable player with the ability to handle the ball, shoot in the flow of an offense and even pull up and shoot off the dribble. Plus, he's not nearly as bad defensively as he was when he came into the league.
It's about having as many assets as possible, and the risk of losing an asset has to be worrisome for the Magic.
Richard Hamilton: Fiction
While the shallow-pocketed Jerry Reinsdorf remains allergic to paying any kind of luxury tax, the Chicago Bulls simply cannot afford to lose any kind of depth.
While Richard Hamilton is far and away not the player he once was, or even the player he was a few years ago, he's still contributing to this Bulls team.
Hamilton is on a modest mid-level contract, with just $1 million of his $5 million deal guaranteed for next season, so the salary cap cut would be minimal at best for the Bulls.
The biggest concern with Hamilton is that there simply isn't a market for him that would bring back a player who isn't on an expensive, long-term deal.
Chicago seems best to stick with Hamilton, see what he can give it this season and knock $4 million off its payroll over the summer, declining to exercise the team option.
Amar'e Stoudemire: Fiction
Do you know why Amar'e Stoudemire is laughing? Because there are people out there who think there's a market for the roughly $928 million left on his three-year deal.
OK, so it's closer to $44 million left after this season, but that's still an insane amount of money for a big man with knees that don't work and eyes that continually get poked.
At this point, it would be amazing if the Knicks were able to give Stoudemire away, even including a draft pick to sweeten up the deal.
There's almost no reason that anybody would want him.
Of course, if Amar'e comes back, looks halfway decent on offense and doesn't completely derail New York's defense, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Brooklyn Nets make a knee-jerk, Kris Humphries and cap fodder swap for Stoudemire.
Nothing's out of the picture, but this picture is definitely faded.