The 2013 NBA trade deadline is a little over one month from today, and some of the biggest names in the league could be on the move.
Superstars Rudy Gay, Josh Smith and Pau Gasol have been rumored to be on the block. But what’s the latest on potential moves for these marquee players?
Let’s take a look at some of the latest buzz around the league concerning these three.
Rudy Gay, F, Memphis Grizzlies
Rudy Gay is one of the best scorers being discussed for a trade deadline deal. Efficiency is something that plagues him despite his ability to put up points, though.
He is currently 71st in the NBA with a 15.2 PER. That's right around the middle of the pack, as a 15 PER is considered the average.
Those efficiency problems have likely steered teams clear of trade talks. Well, that, and his hefty contract. Who wants to pay top dollar for a moderately successful shooter?
The Grizz seem content to stick with their current lineup, despite some current struggles. Sam Amico of FoxSports.com weighed in on the subject:
There was a time, and not long ago, that the Memphis Grizzlies seemed determined to trade talented small forward Rudy Gay. But that time, according to league sources, has passed.
While that may be true, other signals are being sent back in Memphis.
Team owner Robert Pera recently had dinner with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Gay and Zach Randolph, both discussed in trade talks, were not invited, according to Ronald Tillery of CommercialAppeal.com.
Gay was asked by Griz CEO Jason Levien whether he wanted to remain with the team or not and replied affirmatively that he did.
If the team finds a suitable partner who is willing to bear the weight of his contract, like the Dallas Mavericks, a deadline deal could go down after all.
Josh Smith, F, Atlanta Hawks
Josh Smith will be a free agent in July, but he could be out of Atlanta much sooner than that if the team decides to move their star big man.
Smith is reportedly frustrated with the team after being suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team,” according to Wallace Prather, his agent (via CBS Sports’ Ken Berger).
"I want to be clear that I'm not pushing a trade," Prather said. "This is not a trade request or anything, but there are frustrations in Atlanta."
Atlanta is struggling as of late, losing eight of their last 10 games. Hawks’ coach Larry Drew may have inadvertently tipped his team’s hand after a horrible 97-58 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
Drew said "changes" are coming to his struggling team, according to Berger. That, coupled with the fact that the team is continuing to probe the league for suitors, makes a move for Smith before the deadline a very real possibility.
Smith is sure to cause a ruckus wherever he winds up, whether it is in free agency or via trade deadline deal.
Pau Gasol, F, Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers’ forward recently said that he would not welcome a change in role. Bringing him off of the bench in a lessened role is being tossed around as a means of fixing the struggles of the team with both he and Dwight Howard on the floor at the same time.
When asked about his thoughts on coming off of the bench, Gasol was straight forward.
"I've been a starter my entire career. I think this is my first games as a Laker, coming from the bench," said Gasol, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. "It's not something that I would enjoy I think."
If Gasol is unwilling to play ball, the Lakers may need to move him in order to salvage a season that is sinking fast.
On the other hand, they also need to solidify their roster for the future. They would find themselves in a bind if they part ways with Gasol and Howard opts to leave via free agency this summer.
Howard is reportedly unhappy with Kobe Bryant and it has created a sense of uneasiness around the Lakers’ locker room.
The team’s uncertainty with Howard and the unwillingness of other teams to give up key future assets for an aging veteran will likely keep Gasol in L.A.