The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most puzzling teams in the league, which is why it should come as no surprise their players are being prominently featured in rumors and buzz leading up to the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
After a busy offseason, the Lake Show is just 17-24 at the halfway mark of the 2012-13 campaign. The team is under serious threat of missing the playoffs.
Will they swing a home-run trade to right this ship or will they sink (or swim) with the current roster? Let’s take a look in Wednesday’s Lakers-only rumor round-up.
After a season-long “Dwightmare” in 2011-12, Howard was supposed to have settled in with the Lakers and was thought to be a shoo-in to re-sign with the organization this summer.
It’s now being reported that the Nets once again have their sights set on the superstar center and have been exploring multiple packages to bring the big man to Brooklyn.
According to Jarrod N. Rudolph of RealGM:
Nets general manager Billy King has closely monitored the struggling Lakers and quietly searched for a third team with an attractive piece that would help facilitate a trade that would deliver Howard to the Nets, according to sources.
It’s far-fetched to think a deal could actually be struck that would land DH12 in New York by the deadline, but the Nets do have Brook Lopez and a number of other pieces.
It would certainly take another team (or two) to get it done, but a persistent King and the frustrated Lakers brass could be a driving force towards striking an agreement.
Gasol was the target of numerous trade rumors in the early portions of the season, but things have cooled considerably as of late.
Perhaps Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has reached the bottom concerning the reason behind this:
Trade market for Pau Gasol complicated because Lakers have made clear that they don't want back long-term money in deal, league sources say.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 22, 2013
It makes sense that L.A. would not be interested in taking on three massive contracts, as things clearly aren’t working in 2012-13. Paying that much luxury tax for the next few years would be downright foolish for the same results.
Gasol is also a solid backup in case DH12 decides to book in the summer, as the Lake Show would be without any decent big men if they flipped the Spaniard.
Lakers in China
Considering the Lakers popularity in the United States, it’s not surprising to see they are reportedly going to head to China for the 2013-14 preseason.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, Los Angeles will head overseas for the seventh annual China Games to put on an exhibition against a yet unnamed opponent from the NBA.
It’s an exciting trip that will expose these stars to an underserved basketball market and should allow us to evaluate them against top competition in the upcoming preseason.