Pau Gasol's name perpetually pops up in trade rumors.
The NBA trade rumor mill is starting to heat up, but don't believe everything you read.
There are plenty of reports that Team X is looking to deal Player Y, but in most cases, there's no fire behind the smoke. Most are premature and largely speculative, looking to fill the slower months of December and January with the quietest whispers of a trade.
Yet every now and then these early rumors come to fruition, so we must examine them all to determine which are reasonable and which are not.
Stats accurate as of Jan. 2, 2013.
The Richard Hamilton rumors are financially motivated.
If the Chicago Bulls trade Richard Hamilton, it's going to be a straight cash dump.
From CSN Chicago:
The Bulls wouldn't want to take back much, if any salary, as the goal would be to avoid the luxury tax—it isn't assessed until after the season, not the beginning—something that shedding his $5 million contract would allow them to do this season, according to my calculations.
With Marco Belinelli and Jimmy Butler available to play more minutes at shooting guard, the Bulls can afford to part with Hamilton, though Rip is the best scorer of the three.
Chicago isn't just trying to win now. It wants to build a team around Derrick Rose that will contend for years. Paying the luxury tax directly impedes that goal.
The one hangup is Hamilton himself, as he wouldn't be receptive to a trade to a non-contender. That's not a deal-breaker, though. There are good teams that need a shooting guard, too.
Roster flexibility down the line is worth the short-term downgrade at the wing. The Bulls are in no rush to trade Hamilton, but they are likely to do it sooner than later.
Anderson Varejao has become too cost-effective to trade.
Never before has Anderson Varejao's stock been so high. Likewise, never before has Varejao been such a bargain for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to Hoopsworld, the Cavs are not interested in parting with their center while he is badly outperforming his contract.
Varejao has this year and two more seasons left on his deal worth $27.1 million, which isn’t a terrible contract for a guy averaging 14 points and 14 rebounds per game.
League sources say Varejao is one of the more talked about trade targets in the league and that there are a number of teams that would move for him. However, Cleveland values him too, and unless someone makes a serious offer for Varejao, the Cavs say they don’t have interest in trading him.
Those two averages are career bests for Varejao, and the rebounding mark is easily the best in the NBA. For a guy making fewer than $10 million a year, those are very good numbers.
Though the Cavs are rebuilding, Varejao is exactly the kind of guy you want in that locker room. He's a veteran who sets a great example for the young players, and his contract doesn't impede the front office's options.
If Varejao's contract was expiring, maybe Cleveland would be more willing to trade him. With another reasonable year on his deal, though, Varejao isn't going anywhere in 2012-13.
J.J. Redick is worth more to the Magic as trade bait.
The Orlando Magic would be foolish to hold onto J.J. Redick.
In the post-Dwight Howard era, Redick is one of the Magic's best remaining players. However, his contract is expiring and Orlando has a surplus of wings. A shooting guard who can hit threes is more valuable to a contender than to a rebuilding team.
So the Magic are definitely serious about shopping Redick, though CBS Sports reports that they are by no means desperate to move him.
The Magic have plenty of time to let the market for Redick simmer. If he gets hurt, it would be unfortunate obviously, but his money comes off the books anyway. And the Magic can continue to see if they have something they can win with now without ramification. But if they do make a move, that's a strong combination of suitors.
There might have been an outside chance of Redick staying put when the Magic were hovering around .500. Now they're 12-19, and their backdoor playoff chances are basically nonexistent.
As long as the Magic keep losing, a Redick trade becomes more and more likely.
Amar'e Stoudemire's contract is downright unmovable.
As much as the New York Knicks want to get rid of Amar'e Stoudemire, he's not going anywhere.
The New York Times reports that the Knicks were doing everything in their power to ship out Stoudemire after last season.
This past summer, the Knicks offered Stoudemire to nearly every team in the league—“available for free,” as one rival executive put it. But they found no takers because of his diminished production, his health and his contract, which has three years and $65 million remaining (counting this season) and which is uninsured against a career-ending knee injury.
Since then, New York has emerged as a bona fide contender, while Stoudemire hurt his knee yet again. The Knicks were itching to trade Stoudemire before his most recent surgery, so they must be dying to now.
Unfortunately for New York, Stoudemire's trade value has never been lower. In NBA terms, he is the definition of damaged goods.
The good news for the Knicks is that Stoudemire is finally back from his latest injury. The bad news is that there's not the slightest chance they'll ever be able to get out of paying him.
Andrea Bargnani is a total liability in Toronto.
If there's one player who can be traded any day now, it's Andrea Bargnani.
The 2006 first overall pick has taken his game to new lows for the Toronto Raptors, turning an intriguing-yet-flawed game into an all-around putrid package.
He has always been too soft to defend opposing big men or play in the post. Now he's shooting 39.8 percent from the field and pulling in just 4.3 rebounds per game.
Bargnani is no longer a floor-stretching threat on offense, and no seven-footer ought to rebound so poorly. This season, he has been as useless as any player in the league, as well as one of the most overpaid.
This is just about the worst time to trade Bargnani, but the Raptors are more than ready to cut ties with their draft bust. There's no evidence Toronto has identified a buyer yet, but ESPN reports that Bargnani is "a lock to be moved."
Toronto has wasted too much time waiting for Bargnani to stop underachieving. The sooner the Raptors can move on, the better.
Anytime the Lakers stumble, Pau Gasol trade rumors emerge.
Another day, another Pau Gasol trade rumor.
When Gasol and the star-powered Los Angeles Lakers got off to a slow start, the murmurs inevitably arose yet again. The rumors pop up anytime he or the team fail to meet everyone's expectations. However, there's rarely any rhyme or reason behind the proposed destinations or the Lakers' return.
Take Examiner.com's account of the latest rumors.
One rumor has Gasol getting traded to the Atlanta Hawks for Josh Smith and Devin Harris. That trade makes no sense for the Hawks, especially because the team is playing so well right now. Another trade has Gasol going to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Derrick Williams and Andrei Kirilenko, but that one fails to make sense with the Wolves already set at center and power forward.
While noting that the rumors exist, the report also comments on how absurd they are. Like the vast majority of Gasol rumors, they strongly favor Los Angeles without considering the other team's circumstances whatsoever.
As long as the Lakers appear mortal, people will speculate about dealing Gasol. As usual, there's nothing to the talk.
DeMarcus Cousins is too erratic to have job security.
The Sacramento Kings are adamant that they will not trade DeMarcus Cousins. That's wishful thinking on their part.
Despite Cousins' boneheaded shot selection, his awful demeanor and his three suspensions this season alone, Kings GM Geoff Petrie told NBA.com that the mercurial center was in no danger of getting dealt.
You can put that one to rest...He's not going anywhere. You can lay that to rest. Some of that stuff lives in its own reality. Everybody's moving forward. He's still a young, developing player that's yet to reach his potential and is still a major piece of the future planning here. Everyone's committed to working with his development as a player and his overall growth...he's still an important part of the future. He's like a lot of people. Some have good days, and some days are better than others. We're going to continue to work with him to help him reach his potential, which is still very high.
It makes sense that the organization would stand by its star, the one player the Kings could even think about building around.
As talented as Cousins is, though, he has never seriously held himself accountable for his behavior. The safe money says he'll screw up again, and the Kings must know it.
With the Maloofs trying to sell the franchise, a game-changing center is an attractive draw, but a head case on and off the court is not.
Unless Cousins has strong veteran mentorship to keep him in check, there is little reason to think he's going to reform. His attitude is going to keep interfering with his play, and the Kings can't say in good conscience that they'll stand by him through anything.
The Kings might not trade him tomorrow—they might not trade him at all. But Petrie is a snake-oil salesman if he claims Cousins is completely secure in Sacramento. With someone so unpredictable, that's not something Petrie can say so absolutely.