NBA Rumors: Fact or Fiction on Latest Trade Speculation as Deadline Approaches
Plenty of fluctuation is likely to take place before the Feb. 21 NBA trade deadline.
With that comes the plethora of reports asserting that certain transactions are imminent, while calling off others.
No deal is a slam dunk, but some should be considered to be true given the level of interest at this stage, while some should be dismissed based on vehement denials of wanting to shake things up.
This breakdown of fact or fiction concerning the action leading up to the cutoff date will be an aggregation of all the hottest topics and biggest names—and whether they could realistically be moved.
F Paul Pierce & C Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics: Fiction
With the season-ending ACL injury to star point guard Rajon Rondo, the rumor mill was buzzing about a possible move involving the remaining two of Boston's original "Big Three," Pierce and KG.
As it turns out, neither of them are going anywhere. Greg Payne of ESPNBoston.com documented what head coach Doc Rivers had to say concerning the trade rumors on Tuesday. Rivers implied that there was only one source for all the speculation:
All from [the media]...None from us. Really. I would like to say that. Sometimes I like [the media], sometimes, some of the stuff that happens is just silly. It really is. When I wake up in the morning and I hear a trade rumor that I haven't heard in my office, that's silly, and that's what happens."
This whole Celtics team doesn't take too kindly to the media, particularly Garnett, who is the emotional leader. Rivers is typically gracious, but expressed some frustration here.
Such a strong denial indicates that the C's aren't likely to move anyone too prominent at this point. That makes sense, considering Boston has won four consecutive games, including the past three, completely without the services of Rondo.
The stockpile of combo guards that was congesting the rotation has suddenly become an asset to the current team, due to Rondo's absence.
F Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks: Fact
Once again, don't poach me if nothing happens and Smith remains in Atlanta for the remainder of the season. But it really doesn't make sense for the Hawks to keep him.
Smith becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and has enjoyed a very impressive January in which he scored 17.2 points per game. He also registered averages of 8.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and just over two blocks per contest.
HOOPSWORLD's Alex Kennedy notes that at least three suitors are interested in acquiring Smith:
I was told that three teams - the Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets and Charlotte Bobcats - had exploratory talks with the Atlanta Hawks.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 2, 2013
The key will be matching up with a team that's on Smith's alleged wish list, which included Dallas, Memphis and Houston as of last month, according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger.
The Rockets would be a strong fit, and even teams looking to clear out some cap space but still salvage a competitive season should take a hard look at Smith. With his upside and recently strong play, it would be very logical for the Hawks to sell high.
Otherwise, it will be difficult for the Hawks to keep him around for next season unless they offer him a lucrative extension, a scenario which may allow him to walk without Atlanta getting anything in return.
F/C Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers: Fiction
A deadline trade is highly unlikely, despite the fact that Gasol has been relegated to the bench by new head coach Mike D'Antoni.
Gasol is attempting to adjust in his new role, but has recently been vaulted back into the starting lineup due to the nagging shoulder injury to star center Dwight Howard. In the past two contests, Gasol is averaging 22.5 points and 11 rebounds.
Once Howard returns, D'Antoni will likely continue to have Gasol ride the pine. This has been an enigmatic season in LA, to say the least, and the two recently had dinner to try to clear the air.
According to Gasol's account in the Los Angeles Times, relations didn't exactly get better:
It's hard to know personalities if you don't get in touch with them...[The dinner] was an effort on our part to try and come to an understanding. But I don't think it's translated to an understanding. Nothing significant has happened; it's probably even gone a little backwards.
The Lakers' dynamic is constantly shifting. Kobe Bryant has taken on more of a distributor role, which has been effective in recent games. That may give Gasol enough opportunities and touches to get into a better rhythm on this star-studded Lakers squad.
As the aforementioned report by T.J. Simers logs, Gasol said there was a definite possibility for a fresh start following this season. He has just one year on his contract remaining, and may request a trade in the summer.
So for now, it looks as though GM Mitch Kupchak is standing pat with this L.A. roster, as it continues attempting to gel.
Beyond this 2012-13 campaign, though, no assertions of Gasol staying a Laker can be made with any certainty.
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