The 2013 NBA playoffs are intensifying, and the last place anyone is looking this May is in the rumor mill.
But that doesn't mean the trade chatter hasn't already started up. With 22 teams, including Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers, already in offseason mode, there's plenty to dissect as the NBA draft and free agency draws closer.
Below we'll take a break from postseason action and get you caught up on the latest NBA trade buzz.
Potential Blockbuster Deal Between Celtics and Clippers
On ESPN's First Take earlier this week, Stephen A. Smith brought up rumors of a potential blockbuster trade between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers, one that would involve Blake Griffin, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and even Doc Rivers among others.
Smith took to Twitter not long after to clear things up, but it does seem that both teams are in talks.
Listen: I said what's being talked about, scenarios that are being contemplated. Can't rule anything out W/ Clips/Celts. Absolutely nothing!— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 6, 2013
With Chris Paul becoming a free agent this summer, the trade Smith discussed, which would send Blake Griffin, Eric Bledsoe, DeAndre Jordan and Caron Butler to Boston in exchange for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, would also feature Doc Rivers signing on to coach the Clippers.
The reason behind it would be to keep Chris Paul in L.A. as he's set to become a free agent this summer.
A coaching change on top of adding two veterans with championships already under their belt would have to be enough to convince Paul to resign, wouldn't it?
As far-fetched as it sounds, Smith mentions that you can't rule anything out at this point. But as long as former No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin is involved, something tells me this deal won't be happening anytime soon.
Paul Gasol Won't Be Shocked If He's Not a Laker Next Season
After a disappointing first-round playoff exit, the Los Angeles Lakers will likely be making some serious changes this offseason, and forward Pau Gasol is well aware, setting the stage for a summer full of trade rumors with these comments at his exit interview (via ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin):
The future is uncertain. There’s no doubt about it. It’s a possibility that I could be gone and there’s a possibility that I could stay. I don’t know the exact percentages of it. But I’m prepared for either way.
The Lakers have serious financial concerns with a payroll around $100 million. At the moment L.A. would owe roughly $85 million in luxury-tax penalties according to McMenamin, so dumping Gasol is definitely a real possibility at this point.
After all, Gasol is set to make slightly over $19 million next season according to Spotrac.com, will turn 33 this July and is coming off a season in which he was plagued by injuries. Gasol played in just 49 regular season games in 2012-13, averaging a career-low 13.7 points per game on a career-worst 46.6 shooting from the field.
There's no denying that Gasol was a key piece to the Lakers' back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, but times are changing and the penalties are beginning to pile up in L.A.
Eric Gordon May Be On His Way Out of New Orleans
New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has yet to rule out the possibility of the franchise parting ways with talented shooting guard Eric Gordon this offseason according to a report last month by NOLA.com's John Reid.
Here is Demps on Gordon's future:
To say if I anticipate him being back – I don’t know if that’s something I can answer right now, or him not to be back. We’re going to sit down and evaluate every situation and opportunity.
But for a guy to come back from injury like that, I thought he had some ups and some downs, but I still think his future is bright as an NBA player.
Which player is the most likely to be moved this offseason?
It's tough to project where Gordon will end up playing next season based on all the concerns about his health and the size of his current contract.
Gordon will make roughly $15 million in each of the next two seasons under his current deal according to Spotrac.com but was only able to play in 42 games last season because of knee issues. On top of that, the 24-year-old shot just 40 percent from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc for New Orleans.
The Hornets weren't able to find any takers for Gordon prior to the February trade deadline, but the long offseason has just begun for most NBA teams.
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