The 2013 NBA Draft is less than one month away, which has the world impatiently waiting for the next generation of stars and role players to arrive. With that being said, addition is not the only form of math being used here, as countless teams could subtract an established talent in favor of a younger player.
The question is, which players are on the trading block as we approach the NBA draft?
Certain teams have made it clear that they're attempting to move up in the 2013 NBA Draft, whether they have a specific player in their sights or not. Other teams are simply looking to trade a player that has been involved in rumors for quite some time.
Either way, there are players on the trade block—some are usual suspects, others are not so much.
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
According to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in trading into the first round. As it presently stands, their first pick comes at No. 48 overall.
After barely making the playoffs and ultimately falling victim to their age, injuries and lack of athleticism, that simply isn't soon enough for L.A. to improve their future. Amico states:
As for the Lakers, their lone pick doesn’t come until midway through the second round (No. 48 overall). But, as usual, they’re supposedly willing to trade big man Pau Gasol in attempt to get younger. That may mean obtaining a pick, a younger player and a contract.
What else is new?
Until Pau Gasol is either traded or his contract expires, there will be countless rumors about his future. With that being said, this may be the first time since the infamous Chris Paul trade fiasco that substance and reason exist in a Gasol-related trade rumor.
L.A. needs to get younger, and the only way for that to truly work is to address their endless needs via the draft—Gasol just so happens to be their most realistic trade bait.
Eric Gordon, New Orleans Pelicans
According to John Reid of The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans Pelicans remain open to trading shooting guard Eric Gordon. This comes after yet another tumultuous season in which the Hornets star guard missed 42-games due to injury and reportedly clashed with head coach Monty Williams.
With Victor Oladipo potentially within the Pelicans' reach, there's reason to believe Gordon's days could be numbered in New Orleans.
Even if the Pelicans are to target a different position, Gordon's off-the-court antics and injury issues must be a concern. They're paying him to be a max contract player, but thus far, Gordon has more missed games than three-point field goals.
A concerning truth for the player that was supposed to be their top source of offense.
There's no guarantee that New Orleans parts ways with Gordon, but this has been a long time coming. Gordon made it clear last summer that he didn't want the Pelicans to match the Phoenix Suns' offer sheet, but they went ahead and retained him.
After shooting themselves in the foot, it may be time for them to heal the wound by letting Gordon go, after all.
Wesley Matthews, Portland Trail Blazers
There's no specific player to list here, as everyone outside of Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum figures to be fair game. As for why, note that the Portland Trail Blazers have their eyes on one player.
Indiana Hoosiers shooting guard and potential top-five draft choice Victor Oladipo.
According to Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest, the Trail Blazers are considering trading up in the draft to land Oladipo. Not only is Portland intrigued, but Oladipo has expressed his genuine interest in playing for the team.
The question is, will Portland pull the trigger?
“I would really love to go to Portland, and I'm not just saying that,” [Victor Oladipo] said convincingly to CSNNW.com. “I hope, and I don't think I'm dropping that far, but if they decided to move up somehow, I think that would be a great situation for me. It's a place where you can just concentrate on basketball.”
This bodes a fair question—are Wesley Matthews' days in Portland numbered?
Matthews figures to be the key here, as he's the only player outside of the aforementioned Blazers with trade value. Meyers Leonard is another option to deal, but the Blazers have eliminated his trade value on their own.
The Blazers are reportedly in desperate search of a franchise center, thus making one loud statement—we're giving up on Leonard after just one season.
If Portland feels Leonard isn't the franchise center they thought he could be, it'll be hard to convince another team that he's right for them. For that reason, dealing the No. 10 overall draft choice and Matthews appears to be the route they'd need to follow to acquire Oladipo.
Let the pandemonium begin.
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