The Los Angeles Lakers continue to be one of the most intriguing organizations to watch as the Feb. 21 trading deadline draws closer.
Because they are still on the outside looking in with regards to the Western Conference playoff picture, the organization is a prime candidate for speculation and rumors concerning potential transactions.
Let’s take a look at the latest buzz surrounding the franchise in Monday’s rumor roundup.
The Spaniard has been struggling greatly since coach Mike D’Antoni took over the reins after Mike Brown’s firing and Bernie Bickerstaff’s demotion back to assistant.
With less than three weeks left until the deadline, there are once again rumblings that the 32-year-old could be on his way out, this time to the Toronto Raptors.
The Raps recently made a splash by orchestrating a three-team, six-player trade that landed them Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies, and GM Bryan Colangelo could be looking for another piece to build a contender for 2013-14.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Andrea Bargnani is openly available and the team is willing to cross the luxury tax threshold if they can find the right deal.
The insider’s sources indicate that Gasol is likely a player that ownership would break the bank for, as pairing him with Gay could bring fruitful results to a playoff-starved franchise.
It’ll be interesting to see if Colangelo can tempt Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak with a package that no longer can involve Jose Calderon’s $10 million expiring contract (which was shipped to the Detroit Pistons as part of the Gay megadeal).
If one thing is clear, it’s that Pau and the Lakers both need to press the restart button. The team brass should be receptive to answering calls and discussing possible blockbusters.
The Lakers have made it apparent that they have little interest in letting Howard get away from them via a trade at the deadline, but there is no guarantee that the big man sticks around this summer.
D12 is all set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2012-13 campaign is finished, and there is plenty of speculation about his future, especially with L.A. floundering through this season.
Howard is going to be the most coveted player on the open market, assuming he doesn’t sign a long-term deal to stay in Southern California. If things continue to go sour for the Lake Show, we imagine the big man will be eager to test the waters of free agency.
Aside from these two tidbits, there hasn’t been anything substantial to note on the transaction front concerning the Lakers.
With the trade deadline coming up, anything could happen, as the team has its work cut out in trying to make the playoffs. L.A. needs all the help it can get and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them pull off a blockbuster in order to shake things up.