With less than a month separating today from February's NBA trade deadline, the rumor mill is starting to swirl in an increasingly serious way.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors are all purportedly shopping superstars, and they're all doing so for different reasons.
The likes of Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowry have all been on the block for a long time, but with pressure mounting for all their respective clubs, deals could finally get done in the coming weeks.
Let's check out the latest buzz concerning all three superstars:
The 7'0" Spaniard's name continues to pop up across the rumor-sphere, and with good reason. He's candidly voiced displeasure with his recent demotion to the bench, and the Lakers might soon be ready to blow up this year's failed experiment.
CBSSports.com's Ken Berger points to the Toronto Raptors as a likely (and ideal) suitor for Gasol's services:
Toronto is perhaps the most realistic landing spot for Gasol, given the uncertainty in the organization about whether Andrea Bargnani will ever develop into a star there. Bargnani wouldn't have to be a star in LA. He would simply have to stand at the 3-point line and make shots...
...With the new CBA taking effect and shortening teams' windows for winning, a team like Toronto might feel better about committing 1½ seasons to Gasol than using its cap room this summer to sign a lesser player for four years.
Other teams Berger mentions as possible landing spots include Atlanta, Utah, Charlotte and Memphis.
Speaking of Memphis, Rudy Gay's name continues to be floated around in trade rumors. Some thought this would stop after the Grizzlies' recent salary-dump trade with Cleveland, but that has been far from the case.
Instead, the Grizzlies have continued accepting calls regarding Gay, knowing that keeping him, Randolph and Marc Gasol long-term might be unrealistic. Per Berger, once again:
[Memphis] still can't afford to carry three players -- Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol -- making more than $50 million for the next two seasons. Sources say the Grizzlies continue to make and accept calls on Gay, though they're doing so from a position of strength because they no longer have to trade him before the Feb. 21 deadline. If they don't, they'll be open for business around draft time and in July.
From the looks of it, their newfound leverage in trade talks could very well keep Gay from being moved this year. If he does get moved before the deadline, though, Memphis will almost certainly be able to wangle a bigger haul in return for him.
Hoopsworld editor Steve Kyler pegged Charlotte as a team that's in aggressive pursuit of him, but they most likely won't be able to land him without giving up core pieces.
Lowry seems to have worn out his welcome in Toronto, and given the relative pittance of next season's contract, he could be a quick fix for teams in need of point guard depth. Per Berger, once again (again):
Kyle Lowry, who has quickly worn out his welcome in Toronto, could be an option for the Mavs or Hawks, who are both in need of point-guard help. With only $1 million guaranteed next season, Lowry would be a short-term fix without clogging up future cap space.
Atlanta, in particular, sticks out as an ideal landing spot for both parties. After losing Lou Williams for the year with a torn ACL, the Hawks are in desperate need of a rock at the guard position. Jeff Teague has been up and down, Devon Harris has been down and up, and rookie John Jenkins is little more than a shooter right now.
If healthy, Lowry would be able to stabilize their backcourt and potentially even save the Hawks' waning season.
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